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    Thailand's Election Campaign Heats Up


    by NTDTelevision

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    Political parties in Thailand are intensifying their campaigns ahead of the July general election. It will be a two-horse race between the ruling Democrat Party and the opposition Puea Thai party, but neither party is expected to win a majority.

    Thirty parties will take part in a July 3 election in Thailand. It will be a tight race between the ruling Democrat Party and the opposition Puea Thai party. It looks like both parties will have to rely on the smaller parties to form a coalition government.

    Puea Thai is the latest incarnation of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai Party, which won an unprecedented two election landslides in 2001 and 2005.

    The party chose Thaksin's youngest sister, Yingluck, for its prime ministerial candidate. But Thaksin controls Puea Thai from exile in Dubai, and the party's marketing strategy is built around his image and his famous populist policies.

    If the party wins, Yingluck will become the first woman prime minister in Thailand.

    [Yingluck Shinawatra, Puea Thai Prime Ministerial Candidate]:
    "So I learn from his logic and his thinking and vision so I think I can apply both business and politic to apply with the professional team in Puea Thai so we believe and confidence that we can deliver all the policy as fast as we can."

    Puea Thai's stronghold is the vote-rich north and northeast and it has the backing of the powerful "red shirts" protest movement. However, that association could be a stigma that turns swing voters away, especially those tired of political upheaval.

    An analyst says it will be almost impossible for Puea Thai to form a government unless they win a landslide election.