Look Back 2019: Thai polls seeking stability throw up surprises instead

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (above) on the campaign trail earlier this year. Both were returned to office. Mr Joko will now have to face the challenge of balancing economic growth with socio-cultural d
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (above) on the campaign trail earlier this year. Both were returned to office. Mr Joko will now have to face the challenge of balancing economic growth with socio-cultural development, while former junta leader Mr Prayut has to try and resolve political differences in his country.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Armed with what it thought was a watertight new Constitution, Thailand's five-year-old military government held a general election in March. It ushered into power a precarious 19-party coalition led by the Palang Pracharath Party, which had branded itself closely with coup leader turned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Even with new, far-reaching election rules designed ostensibly to curb external interference, the March 24 vote threw up surprises.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2019, with the headline 'ELECTIONS: Thai polls seeking stability throw up surprises instead'. Subscribe