Thai Opposition Party Wins Initial Electoral Skirmish
government has lostnine rr.jp.dj
1 n but Ui^ Jetb ,i -iy cause complacent Thai leaders to step up preparations for next year's legislative elections.
The opppgiHon-Party too* feats in the votingeptcraer to? HangXoXv . Three
recognized government slatesto elect only one progovcrn-ment candidate. The electhe first meaningful one inin tenaslear.. althouoh some cases of government cnican-ery were reported.
Widely interpreted as_ anpolitical barppy'Tr*
n kevu-tions foihe Democrata. the on ly nationwide opposition partyactive, came out of the election substantially Out of the limelight for ten years and weakened by the recent death of their leading public figure, the Democrats needed the psychological boost that the Bangkok victory gave them.
Although the Democrats' may also attracttho: antigovetiinicnf elements to raily
Wtiy "eiore they to oi.iiier.qe thewith any
niixcjteAf.^ The party does not
that the Bangkok vote reflects the
progovernment forces as mi:cti as it otitis democratic strength."
The electionajorto thosethe government who hada Democratic Party defeatits traditional areawould clear the way easy government victory inelections. setback in Dartgkoki .ition oi fit? mat has beenrTI.IVj:iU hence is abitter pill for thefaction centered
One consequencu of thewill be to strengthen the hand of Prime Minister Thanom in the factional wrangling with Praphat Tho deputy prime minister is the only Thai leader activelya political apparatus in the countryside, however, and he will have toey role ina unified government party.
Although the turnout in the Bangkok election was low and local issues were important, the voting does suggest that there may be more antigovernment sentiment in the country than has beenheretofore. The election results indicate that thewill have to put aside its squabbling and marshal itsresources tolearcuf victory in next year's legislative elections.Original document.