Unlike elections in distant decades, the upcoming polls on July 3 are preceded by wildly generous campaigns among most of the 40 parties in contest. They are jousting for parliamentary seats by upping the ante of promises to provide subsidies, handouts and giveaways.
Election campaign posters dot the roads in Pattani province, southern Thailand. This poster of Matubhum Party—led by retired general Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, who led the Sept 19, 2006 coup against Thaksin Shinawatra—declares that the party ‘‘Dares to think, act and implement changes for the motherland’s sake’’.
That no major party is campaigning on sufficiency economy is indicative of the fundamental changes that have taken place in Thailand's political environment over the past decade.