King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand has sanctioned the dissolution of the country’s House of Representatives, effectively launching the campaign season ahead of the forthcoming May elections.
By dissolving early, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has allowed parliamentarians more time to switch parties, as dissolution before the schedule means that the period for candidates to be part of a party is shortened to 30 days.
According to the constitution, If the parliamentary is not dissolved ahead of the term schedule on Thursday, candidates would have needed to be members of a party for 90 days.
Currently, the leading party is the Pheu Thai party, garnering 49.75 percent of the support in the latest quarterly survey conducted by the National Institute of Development Administration.
The party’s nominee, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, daughter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, leads other prime minister candidates at 38.2 percent.
In second place is the leader of the Move Forward Party, Pita Limjaroenrat at 15.75 percent. Prayut is currently in third with 15.65 percent, Nikkei reports.
In the case of Thai voters, they will receive two ballots, one for a constituency seat and another for their favored party. The second will determine the remaining 100 house seats, as the Election Commission announced last week that it had finished drawing the district lines for 400 seats that are up for grabs.
After seizing power in a military coup in 2014, the retired army general, Prayut Chan-ocha, became Prime Minister. Later on, the Constitutional Court declared in September that his term count began in 2017 when the current constitution took effect.