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POST TIME: 3 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
30 new political parties register in run-up to Thai polls
AFP

30 new political parties register in run-up to Thai polls

BANGKOK: More than 30 new Thai political parties submitted names and logos on the opening day of party registration in Bangkok yesterday, an early step in the junta-ruled kingdom’s halting return to democracy, reports AFP.

Thailand has been under army rule since a 2014 putsch toppled an elected government and installed the country’s most autocratic regime in a generation.

The generals have banned all political activity and repeatedly postponed a promised return to democracy.

Yet this week the junta chief vowed polls would be held no later than February 2019.

In an early sign of enthusiasm for the vote, dozens of new parties applied for registration at the Election Commission (EC) on Friday, under names like “Siam Democrat Party” and “Thai Unity Party.”

“So far there are 34 names of political parties submitted to the EC,” an official told AFP on Friday morning.

Many were political novices with backgrounds in business, civil society or academia, plus several farmers from the north and south.

A YouTube celebrity was also among the crowd, while one group wore T-shirts with the faces of Thailand’s most bitter political rivals arranged in a heart under the words “United”.