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Poll Reveals Thais Unaware of Senatorial Election Process

A recent poll reveals a concerning lack of awareness and understanding among Thais about the upcoming senatorial elections. Conducted by King Prajadhipok’s Institute between May 7 and May 18, the survey highlights that nearly a quarter of the population is unaware of the elections scheduled from June 9 to June 26, while a staggering 70% do not understand the new election system.

The poll surveyed 1,620 Thais aged 18 and older, uncovering that 76.5% are aware of the elections, leaving 23.5% uninformed. When questioned about the election process, only 28.5% correctly identified that candidates would vote among themselves to elect 200 senators. This reveals a significant knowledge gap, with 21.5% mistakenly believing that candidates from different occupation groups would be involved and 15.5% thinking that the public would cast votes directly. Additionally, 34.7% admitted to having no idea how the new voting system works.

Age and education levels significantly impact these misconceptions. About 30% of those over 60 answered correctly, whereas 73.9% of individuals aged 18 to 25 were either clueless or misunderstood the process. Among respondents with only elementary education, 79.3% were unaware of how the election works, compared to 35.4% of those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher who answered correctly.

The upcoming election process involves three levels of voting: district level on June 9, provincial level on June 16, and national level on June 26. This election will establish a new 200-member Senate, replacing the current 250-member Senate appointed by the junta following the 2014 coup. The tenure of the appointed senators ended on May 10, and they continue to serve in a caretaker role until the new Senate is elected, as reported by The Nation.

The findings of this poll underscore the critical need for improved public education on the electoral process to ensure that voters are well-informed. This lack of awareness and understanding could potentially undermine the effectiveness and legitimacy of the elections.

In related news, former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat made a surprise appearance at the Chiang Mai district office on May 21, marking the opening of senatorial candidate registrations.

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