Thailand on Sunday (22 April) held its first general election since the military regime of Prime Minister Kriangsak Chomanan took over in the 1977 coup.
Thailand on Sunday (22 April) held its first general election since the military regime of Prime Minister Kriangsak Chomanan took over in the 1977 coup. But Thai politicians found themselves faced with a new constitutional compromise, compelling them to share power unequally with the military, regardless of the election results. This is because only the lower house of the three-hundred seat parliament was publicly elected. The upper, and constitutionally more powerful, Senate with two hundred and twenty five members, was appointed by Kriangsak and is heavily dominated by military officers.
SYNOPSIS: The election was keenly contested, despite the seemingly-inevitable outcome. More than one thousand six hundred candidates contested the three hundred and one seats in the House of Representatives. However, when the count was done, it was the Social Action Party (SAP) of former Prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj which fielded the most candidates and outstripped all opponents. Mr. Pramoj's party won eighty-one seats, overwhelming its main rival, the Democrat Party, which won only thirty-two seats and was thrashed in its former bangkok strongholds. The S.A.P. had mooted government decentralisation, direct distribution of development funds for rural areas and equal rights for ethnic minority groups.
With almost all the votes counted on Monday (23 April) Prime Minister Kriangsak's Seritham party and potential independent supports appeared to have won the small number of seats needed in the lower house to secure another term in power. Reuters News Agency reported Seritham had twenty-one seats, and at least sixty-three would be independents. Soon after he staged the military takeover of the civilian regime of Premier Tanin Kreivixien in October 1977, General Kariangsak promised the people a return to democracy and domestic reform. While Thailand still has a military-dominated government, observers predicted the civilian S.A.P. party should give Prime Minister Kriangsak a lively bout of opposition in the lower house.