[QODLink]
Asia-pacific
Thailand prepares for crucial vote
Main opposition Puea Thai Party enjoys clear lead in polls over party of current prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2011 05:44


Thailand's rival political parties are wrapping up their campaigns on the eve of a hard-fought election considered crucial to the future of the kingdom after years of turbulence.

Authorities say 170,000 police are to be deployed to protect polling stations for Sunday's vote, which comes little more than a year after Bangkok was rocked by its worst civil violence in decades.

Polls show the main opposition Puea Thai Party, led by Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of the fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, enjoying a lead over the Democrat Party of Abhisit Vejjajiva, the current prime minister.

Yingluck, a 44-year-old businesswoman, has seen a swift rise into the lead by tapping support in the rural north and northeast heartland where her brother remains popular five years after he was toppled in a coup.

The Democrat Party has dismissed Yingluck as a political novice serving as a nominee to allow Thaksin to return from exile, where he lives to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption.

Al Jazeera's Aela Callan reports from Khon Kaen in northern Thailand.

Source:
Aljazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
Part of the joint accord aimed at ending the political impasse establishes an independent National Election Commission.
Rights groups say the US prosecution of terrorism cases targets Muslims and are fraught with abuses.
Local painters forgo experimentation to cater to growing number of foreign buyers.
join our mailing list