Polls open in local elections despite uncertainty over Covid-19

Polls opened around the country on Sunday as local elections were held for the first time since the military took power in a 2014 coup.

There was initial uncertainty over the elections due to a large coronavirus outbreak in Samui Sakhon Province but election officials were given the go ahead.

The polls will be a litmus test on the current ruling party and their progressive challengers. The military-backed government has been under pressure for the past six months from pro-democracy, anti-military, student-led demonstrations.

The demonstrators have called on the government to amend the constitution, something the Prayut Chan-ocha administration has continually dragged its feet on.

Sunday’s polls will be the first chance that voters will be able to express their opinion on the government and their local prospects.

Campaigning has been intense and thorough with ruling party members and opposition MPs lending their voice to support local candidates.

Voters have been told to wear a mask if they want to cast their ballot and to maintain social distancing to fight against Covid-19.

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