Video: The Thai election explained

Video: The Thai election explained

Here is a quick, but quite thorough explanation of the general election currently taking place in Thailand

Here is a very basic explanation of the current Thai general election, how it works, who is involved and what might happen. If you are learning English, you will also hear a lot of the most important election-related vocabulary. For much more election vocabulary, click here:

Since the explanation in the video is quite fast, I have made a transcript so you can see what is being said. I've been told the person who did the reading has a northern English accent and is from the Manchester area.

A Dummy's Guide To Thailand's General Election 2011

Thailand goes to the polls on Sunday, July 3rd. Five hundred members of parliament will be elected to the House of Representatives for a four-year term. It will be Thailand's 26th general election since 1933 and the first since 2007.

Ballot papers allow the electorate to vote for 375 constituency MPs on a first past the post basis and 125 party-list MPs.

The number of party-list seats allocated to each is calculated by dividing the total number of votes cast across the country by 125.

The resulting figure is the number of votes it takes to win a seat which is then used to calculate how many seats each party wins. Forty-two parties will field at least one candidate in the election.

The Democrats, founded in 1946, are the oldest party led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. They have 2.8 million paid-up members which is more that the rest of the other party memberships combined.

Phuye Thai party, founded in 2007 and with Yingluck Shinawatra as prime ministerial candidate, have 23,778 members.

At the last general election, 74.45 percent  of those eligible – about 32 million people – voted. It was the highest ever turnout.

Members of the Sangha, prisoners and those judged to be of unsound mind are not allowed to vote.

Candidates for the House of Representatives must be citizens of Thailand by birth and be at least 25 years old on election day. A candidate must have been a voter and therefore on the electoral register for at least five years prior to the election. Chart Thai Pattana Puea Pandin party hopeful Paradon Srichaphan falied to meet this qualification and was not allowed to stand.

Party list candidates are exempt from provincial restrictions that apply to consitutency candidates. A candidate must be a member of one political party for at least 90 days before election day.

Fifty-seven female MPs, or around 12 percent of the House, were elected in 2007.

Each candidate is allowed to spend up to 1.5 million baht on their election campaign.

Campaigning for this election has been marred by violence. Police put a list of 113 known hitmen on a wanted list ahead of the election.

In the 2007 general election, Phue Thai forerunner, the People's Power Party won 233 seats, mainly in the North and Northeast. The Democrats won 165 seats, mostly in the South and Central regions, including 30 out of 33 in Bangkok. Other parties won 82 of the 480  seats contested.

This time around, a party needs more than 250 seats to win a majority and form a government. Small- and medium-sized parties are expected to perform a vital role in helping Phue Thai or the Democrats to form a coalition government.

But what parties might work together?

The Democrats and Phue Thai will definitely not put their differences aside to form a coalition, but the Democrats could team up with Bhumjaithai, Chart Thai Pattana, Chart Pattana Puea Pandin, Pracharaj, Social Action party, Mataphum and Palangchon. 

Phue Thai could work with Chart Thai Pattana, Chart Pattana Puea Pandin, Pracharaj and Social Action, but are unlikely to join forces with Bhumjaithai or Mataphum.

So, barring a landslide victory for either of the two main parties, it looks certain that Prime Minister Abhisit will retain his role or that Khun Yingluck will become Thailand's first female prime minister depending on their ability to work with other parties to form a coaltion government.

dummy – a stupid person คนโง่
guide – a book, magazine, etc. that gives you information, help or instructions about something คู่มือ
go to the polls – to go to the polling station to vote ไปลงคะแนน, ไปเลือกตั้ง, ไปออกเสียงเลือกตั้ง
term – a period of time a politician or other official holds their job ช่วงเวลาการดำรงตำแหน่ง
ballot paper – the piece of paper on which someone marks who they are voting for บัตรเลือกตั้ง
electorate – all the people in a country or area who are allowed to vote ผู้ที่มีสิทธิเลือกตั้งทั้งหมดในท้องที่หรือเขตหนึ่งๆ
constituency – a district that elects its own representative to parliament เขตเลือกตั้ง
first past the post – of an election where the winner is the person who receives the most votes, even if they receive less than half of the votes
party-list (proportional representation) – a system that gives each party in an election a number of seats in relation to the number of votes its candidates receive ระบบสัดส่วน, ระบบปาร์ตี้ลิสต์
allocate – to officially give out an amount of or share of something แบ่งส่วน
calculate – to discover a number or amount using  mathematics คำนวน
cast (a ballot) – to vote, i.e., to put a marked ballot in a ballot box ลงคะแนน, หย่อนบัตรเลือกตั้ง, ออกเสียงเลือกตั้ง
figure – a number representing a particular amount, especially one given in official information ตัวเลข, จำนวนเลข
field – to provide a candidate to represent you in an election ส่งคนลงสมัคร
candidate – a person who is trying to be elected ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
found – to start an organization, company, political party etc  สร้าง,  ก่อตั้ง, สถาปนา
combined – counted together รวมกัน
eligible (voters) – people who have the right to vote in an election ผู้มีสิทธิ์เลือกตั้ง
turnout – the number or percentage of eligible voters who vote in an election จำนวนผู้ออกมาลงคะแนน
(of) unsound mind – not responsible for your actions because of a mental illness วิกลจริต, จิตวิปลาส
citizen – someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country พลเมือง
register – an official list of names of people who are allowed to do something, e.g., vote, study, stay in a hotel etc ทะเบียน
prior – before ก่อนหน้า
hopeful – a person who wants to succeed at something ผู้ที่ต้องการประสบความสำเร็จ
qualifications – the abilities, qualities, degrees, etc. that you need for a particular job or activity คุณสมบัติ, คุณวุฒิ
stand (for election) – to be a candidate in an election เป็นผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
restriction – a rule, action or situation that limits or controls someone or something การจำกัด, การควบคุม
exempt – not affected by something ได้รับการยกเว้น
female – being a woman or a girl สตรี, ผู้หญิง, เพศหญิ
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
mar – to spoil something ทำให้เสียหาย
violence – physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people ความรุนแรง
hitman – a person who is paid to kill someone
forerunner – an institution, custom, or thing that existed before a newer but similar thing ผู้บุกเบิก, ผู้นำทาง
contest – to take part in an election or other competition ลงแข่ง, ลงรับเลือกตั้ง
violence – physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people ความรุนแรง
medium – in the middle between two sizes, amounts, lengths, temperatures, etc; not large, not small ปานกลาง, ขนาดกลาง
vital – extremely important; necessary for the success or continued existence of something จำเป็นสำหรับชีวิต; สำคัญมาก
role – the position or purpose that someone or something has in a situation, organisation, society or relationship บทบาท
coalition government – a government formed by two or more political parties working together รัฐบาลผสม
barring – except for ยกเว้น
landslide – of an election in which one person or party gets very many more votes than the other people or parties ชนะอย่างท่วมท้น, ฟ้าถล่มดินทลาย
retain – to keep, continue to have, or to store something เก็บไว้, สงวนไว้

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