In Thailand, nearly two thousand candidates are contesting 324 seats in the April 18 general election.
GV PAN Bangkok. (2 SHOTS)
Election poster .
SV INTERIOR Election Information centre. (4 SHOTS)
SVs Printing press publishing election literature. (4 SHOTS)
SV Packaged posters with soldiers guarding them (2 SHOTS)
GV EXTERIOR Military academy
GV INTERIOR Military cadets receiving instructions. (4 SHOTS)
SCU Military cadets marching past. (4 SHOTS)
GV PAN Social Action leader, Mr. Kukrit Pramoj, gives speech at political rally. (4 SHOTS)
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Background: In Thailand, nearly two thousand candidates are contesting 324 seats in the April 18 general election. The election was called two months earlier than expected by King Bhumipol. He was acting on the advice of Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda, who said an early election was necessary to avoid possible political clashes. The surprise move followed personal setback for the army chief, General Arthit Kamlang-Ek, who had backed an unsuccessful attempt in Parliament to change the constitution in favour of the armed forces. When lists closed 1,880 candidates had registered, 257 more than at the last general election 1979. Former prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj and his Social Action Party had the largest number of candidates at 255, and its main partner in the present coalition government, the Democrat Pary, fielded 196 candidates. The election campaign has been taking place in an atmosphere of heightened tension between Parliament and the armed forces. There were fears of military coup after parliament voted against the constitutional changes. But politicians in Bangkok said the early election date favours the armed forces, since Prime Minister Tinsulanonda depends on General Arthit for much of his support.