Divided country braces for elections to 480-seat parliament on Sunday.
“The poll this Sunday is a continuation of our ongoing political crisis,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political science professor at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University.
He said: “If a representative of a smaller party becomes the next prime minister, it may create confusion in a country still sharply divided among supporters and opponents of Thaksin Shinawatra.”
People’s Power Party
The party is led by 72-year-old Samak Sundaravej, six-time cabinet minister under investigation in two corruption cases from his time as governor of Bangkok.
The party is campaigning on a platform of cheap health care, low-interest loans for the poor and greater funds into village-level development.
It has pledged to bring home Thaksin Shinawatra, the exiled former prime minister.
Thailand’s oldest party is led by 43-year-old, Oxford-educated Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has been a member of parliament for 16 years.
He has been criticised for not connecting with poor, rural voters.
The party promises free education, a focus on resolving the four-year Muslim insurgency in the country’s south and rooting out corruption.
The PPP draws most of its support from farmers, the majority of Thailand’s 64 million population, who remember Thaksin’s efforts to boost the rural economy.