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Thailand holds Senate elections

Thailand holds Senate elections

Thais went to the polls Sunday to vote in the country's first elections for the upper house of Parliament since a 2006 military coup ousted elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The 76 members of the Senate to be elected, one from each of the country's provinces, will join 74 others already appointed by a committee made up of judges, the Election Commission and the heads of various independent agencies.
A new constitution enacted last year made the 150-member Senate a body divided between appointed and elected members. Under the previous 1997 constitution _ which was scrapped after the coup _ all of its members were elected.
Thaksin, who returned from exile Thursday, was not eligible to vote because he was banned from political activities for five years after a court found him guilty in absentia of electoral fraud.
The coup-makers ousted Thaksin for alleged corruption and abuse of power. The changes to the constitution were among several measures they subsequently took to limit politicians' power.
The Senate has the power to remove Cabinet members, to appoint and remove the commissioners of independent state organizations, and to approve laws passed by the lower house.
In the December election for the 480 members of the lower House of Representatives, the majority were won by the Thaksin-allied People's Power Party. It now leads a six-party coalition government.
Sunday's elections came four days after Thaksin returned to Thailand from 17 months in self-imposed exile following the coup. His homecoming was widely seen as a return to the center of Thai politics despite the military's efforts to eradicate his legacy.
Last year a court disbanded his Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party and barred him and 110 party executives from politics for five years for electoral fraud.


Updated : 2021-06-21 03:36 GMT+08:00