The Thai Enquirer Voter Guide: 2023 General Election

On May 14th, Thailand will be holding a general election, following the dissolution of parliament by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. His government served essentially its full four-year term, after the last general election in 2019. 

In this voter guide, Thai Enquirer will introduce you to how this election works, and take you through a quick tour of all of the major parties fielding candidates for office. 


At this election, all voters will receive two ballots. (This changed from 2019, when voters received only one ballot).

One ballot is for the local constituency MP. The other ballot is for the party-list, where the votes will be used to calculate how many of the one hundred party-list MPs each party gets.

In total, 500 MPs will be elected. The new electoral system will likely favor larger parties and disadvantage smaller parties, as it increases the number of constituency MPs and raises the threshold for a party to qualify for party-list MPs.

Once all MPs are elected, the House of Representatives and the Senate will join together to vote for a prime minister. The Senate was appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order prior to the 2019 general election and contains 250 members.

This means that a winning candidate for prime minister must win at least 376 votes in the joint sitting of parliament. At the last election, all 250 members voted for Prayut to remain as prime minister.

This election is likely to be the last time in which the Senate is eligible to cast votes for prime minister, as this is a merely temporary provision of the 2017 constitution. 

If you are a Thai citizen and living outside of Thailand, you have until April 9th to register to vote outside the kingdom. You can register to vote at this website


One of the major issues in this election is whether or not General Prayut Chan-o-cha receives a third term as prime minister.

Prayut is running under the banner of the brand-new United Thai Nation Party, vowing to use two more years in office to complete unfinished work.

At the same time, Prayut faces major challenges from at least two other conservative political parties: Palang Pracharath, who is nominating his erstwhile deputy-turned-rival General Prawit Wongsuwan, and Bhumjaithai, another coalition partner on the ascent.

At the same time, leftover economic pain from the pandemic ensures that bread-and-butter issues remains one of the driving factors at this election.

The various political parties have been racing on economic populism, competing to release ever-flashier policies that increase benefits and puts money in the pockets of the people.

To take one example, soon after Prawit announced he would increase state welfare card benefits to 700 baht per month, Prayut went further and said he would raise them to 1,000 baht per month.

The Pheu Thai Party remains favorite to win the most seats, according to the polling, but whether or not it will be able to form a government is unclear given a recalcitrant Senate.

This has led to rumors that Pheu Thai may have to seek a coalition with Palang Pracharath, despite being political opponents for the past four years. Although Pheu Thai has dismissed such a possibility, Thaksin said that it could still be a “last option.” 

This election comes after the political protests of 2020, which called for constitutional amendments and reforms to the royal institution. Although these calls ultimately amounted to little, they changed Thai politics in an unprecedented way.

For the supporters of these protests, the Move Forward Party remains their political vehicle of choice, and the party has been steadfast in ruling out any future cooperation with Prayut or Prawit. 

(Click here to read a more detailed overview of the political landscape)


For each party, we’ve summarized the party’s outlook, its prime ministerial candidates, some of the key figures associated with the party, and a selection of three to five key policies that the party has proposed. 

We’ve also included the links to the party websites (unfortunately, these are all in Thai) so that any reader interested in learning more about a particular party’s personnel and policy platform can find further information.

In addition, we’ve linked some of Thai Enquirer’s coverage related to that party, particularly on the party’s electoral chances, internal politics, and policy proposals.

Note that each party’s ballot number in each constituency and party-list are different. The numbers listed are for the party-list ballot only. 

UNITED THAI NATION PARTY [Ruam Thai Sang Chart] (22)

The United Thai Nation Party was recently founded to support Prayut’s bid for a third term.

The party has emphasized its nationalist and conservative credentials. It has vowed to continue the work of the current Prayut government.

The party hopes to win votes from Prayut’s supporters, those who want policy continuity from the current administration, and ideological conservatives.

Prime ministerial candidates:

  • Prayut Chan-o-cha: Prayut is the incumbent prime minister. Having come to power at the 2014 military coup, Prayut transitioned to civilian rule at the 2019 general election. His government has pioneered expansions in Thailand’s welfare state and investments in infrastructure. Most recently, Prayut presided over the response to the Covid crisis and the economic recovery. The Constitutional Court ruled last year that he is eligible to serve for two more years; he has pledged that once he reaches the limit, he will find a suitable successor. 
  • Pirapan Salirathavibhaga: Pirapan is the UTN’s leader and currently serves as an advisor to Prayut. He was previously a member of the Democrat Party and served as Justice Minister in the Abhisit Vejjajiva cabinet. While an opposition MP, he was known for his work on investigating corruption. 

Other key figures: Akanat Promphan (former PDRC protest leader), ML Chayotid Kridakorn (economic team leader), Supattanapong Punmeechaow (deputy prime minister), Trairong Suwannakhiri (former deputy prime minister)

Key policy proposals:

  • Increase state welfare card benefits to 1,000 baht (“state welcare card plus”)
  • Continue economic stimulus programs such as Khon La Krueng 
  • Continue competitiveness-enhancing programs such as the Eastern Economic Corridor
  • Provide 100 vocational scholarships for each district
  • Set up funds to support crop prices

Click here for the party’s website

More on this party from Thai Enquirer:


Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s affiliated parties have been the top seat-winner at every general election since 2001.

This year, Pheu Thai is hoping for another “landslide” that will allow it to overcome the appointed Senate and form a government.

Despite Thaksin’s claim to no longer wield influence in the party, his shadow looms large in the form of his daughter’s candidacy for prime minister.

Pheu Thai remains the party of choice for those who are nostalgic about the Thaksin and Yingluck governments, but the inclusion of a Shinawatra on the prime ministerial ballot makes it a lightning rod for those who previously opposed Thaksin. 

Prime ministerial candidates: 

  • Paethongtharn Shinawatra: A political neophyte, her main claim to fame is her status as Thaksin’s daughter — reminiscent of the 2011 election, when Thaksin’s sister Yingluck ran for prime minister only months after officially entering politics. She has worked primarily as an executive in the hospitality industry. 
  • Srettha Thavisin: Srettha is the CEO of Sansiri, one of Thailand’s largest real estate companies. As an executive, he has always been vocal politically. Srettha has publicly said that he is not interested in seeking any public post aside from that of prime minister itself.
  • Chaikasem Nitisiri: Chaikasem is Pheu Thai’s chief strategist. He served as justice minister in the Yingluck cabinet and was one of the three prime ministerial candidates nominated by Pheu Thai in 2019. He is the sole prime ministerial candidate from the party to also run as an MP on the party-list ballot. (At the time of writing, Chaikasem’s candidacy is unconfirmed but has been reported by Voice TV.)

Other key figures: Cholanan Srikaew (party leader and MP), Prommin Lertsuridej (former deputy prime minister and economic team leader), Phumtham Wechayachai (former deputy commerce minister and party secretary-general), Nattawut Saikua (former deputy agriculture minister and red shirt leader)

Key policy proposals: 

  • Increase minimum wage to 600 baht per day (and 25,000 baht per month for college graduates) within five years
  • Expand 30 baht healthcare scheme, allowing nationwide coverage using just citizen ID card
  • End military conscription
  • Find new trade channels and measures to lower oil prices and utility bills

Click here for the party’s website

More on this party from Thai Enquirer:


The core of the governing coalition that emerged out of the 2019 election, Palang Pracharath has lost its biggest star in Prayut, who defected to the United Thai Nation Party.

But it now has a new standard-bearer in Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, who has written in a series of open letters that he has come to grasp the importance of reconciling conservatives and liberal democrats, and pledges to govern in a unifying manner.

The party recently brought back half of Somkid Jatusripitak’s “Four Sons” team of technocrats, re-assembling the economic team of Prayut’s earlier years.

The party also recently welcomed back Captain Thammanat Promphao into the fold.

Prime ministerial candidates: 

  • Prawit Wongsuwan: Prawit has served as deputy prime minister throughout the entirety of the Prayut administration and is the party leader. He also served twice as Defense Minister. One of the triumvirs that came to power at the 2014 coup, Prawit is widely seen as one of Thailand’s most powerful men. Having tasted the apex of power while acting prime minister last year, Prawit is now gunning for the top job itself. 

Other key figures: Uttama Savanayana (former finance minister), Mingkwan Saengsuwan (former deputy prime minister), Thammanat Promphao (former deputy agricultural minister), Sontirat Sontijirawong (former energy minister), Santi Prompat (deputy finance minister) 

Key policy proposals:

  • Increase state welfare card benefits to 700 baht per month 
  • Reallocate empty lands for residential and farming purposes for two million low-income earners
  • Lower retail diesel prices
  • Provide child support subsidies for newborns until the age of six

Click here for the party’s website

More on this party from Thai Enquirer:


Once a regional party centred on its provincial base of Buriram, Bhumjaithai emerged as a truly national force in 2019, lifted by the popularity of its proposal to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

Having accomplished this task, Bhumjaithai is now running under the slogan “We said it and delivered.”

A successful campaign could propel Bhumjaithai towards becoming the core governing party. 

Prime ministerial candidate: 

  • Anutin Charnvirakul: Anutin is the deputy prime minister, health minister, and the party leader. A construction magnate, Anutin also previously served in the Abhisit cabinet as deputy interior minister. At the Ministry of Public Health, Anutin led Thailand’s response to the coronavirus and the push to legalize medical marijuana.

Other key figures: Saksayam Chidchob (transport minister), Puttipong Punnakanta (former digital economy minister), Pipat Ratchakitprakarn (tourism and sports minister) 

Key policy proposals:

  • Pass legislation to properly regulate marijuana usage
  • Free kidney dialysis in every district and cancer radiation treatment in every province
  • Three-year consumer debt moratorium 
  • Provide free solar panels for rooftops to help lower electricity prices by 450 baht per month

Click here for the party’s website

More on this party from Thai Enquirer:

DEMOCRAT [Prachathipat] (26)

The Democrats suffered a severe defeat in 2019, falling from its position as one of Thailand’s largest parties to a medium-sized one.

It reneged from its pre-election pledge not to support Prayut as prime minister and has spent the past four years as a junior coalition partner, hoping to use control of key economic ministries to rebuild its support.

The party has suffered from a steady outflow of members, but continue to campaign on its image of being an institutionalized political party without a single owner. 

Can the Democrats, Thailand’s oldest political party, make a comeback this year, or will it continue to lose ground and become a truly southern regional party?

Prime ministerial candidate: 

  • Jurin Laksanawisit: Jurin is the deputy prime minister, commerce minister and party leader. A longtime MP, Jurin has also served in various other government roles, such as education minister and health minister. Under Jurin’s leadership, the Democrats have focused on maintaining agricultural prices and supporting exports. Before entering politics, he was a cartoonist and travel writer. 

Other key figures: Chuan Leekpai (former prime minister and house speaker), Chalermchai Sri-on (agriculture minister), Nipon Bunyamanee (former deputy interior minister), Kalaya Soponpanich (deputy education minister), Suchatvee Suwansawat (former Bangkok gubernatorial candidate)

Key policy proposals: 

  • Continue agricultural price guarantees
  • 30,000 baht for every farming household
  • Free undergraduate education in disciplines with high labor market demand
  • Free school milk all 365 days of the year 

Click here for the party’s website

More on this party from Thai Enquirer:

MOVE FORWARD [Kao Klai] (31)

The standard-bearer of Thai progressivism, Move Forward is the successor to the now-dissolved Future Forward Party.

Facing an uphill battle to win more constituency seats at this election, Move Forward remains strident in its stance against the Prayut government and the current political system.

The party is campaigning on “turning off the switch” of the Prayut triumvirate, but it remains to be seen whether its past proposals on reform of the royal institution has won or lost it more support. 

Prime ministerial candidate: 

  • Pita Limjaroenrat: Pita is the leader of the Move Forward Party. Previously a businessman, Pita was first elected MP under the Future Forward banner in 2019 before being elevated to the Move Forward leadership. Pita’s breakout moment came when he made a speech on agricultural policy that was even praised by Anupong Paochinda, the interior minister. Some analysts see Pita as having taken the party on a more moderate stance on certain hot-button issues. 

Other key figures: Chaitawat Tulathon (secretary general), Parit Watcharasindhu (policy campaign manager), Sirikanya Tansakul (economic team leader), Wiroj Lakkanaadisorn (former Bangkok gubernatorial candidate), Rangsiman Rome (member of parliament) 

Key policy proposals:

  • Annual minimum wage increases, starting at 450 baht a day
  • Direct governor elections in every province
  • An expanded welfare state with new benefits from newborn citizens to pensioners
  • Reform schools and school curricula 

Click here for the party’s website

More coverage from Thai Enquirer:


Long focused on its home base of Supanburi, Chart Thai Pattana has rebranded itself to something resembling a Green Party in Thailand, emphasizing environmentalism and sustainability while decrying populism.

Several Bangkok candidates from the now-defunct Sang Anakot Thai Party moved to Chart Thai Pattana. It leader, Varawut Silpa-archa, has openly declared that Chart Thai Pattana would be open to joining any coalition government.

Prime ministerial candidate: 

  • Varawut Silpa-archa: Varawut is the environment and natural resources minister and is the party’s leader. The son of former prime minister Banharn Silpa-archa, he also previously served as deputy transport minister in the Somchai Wongsawat cabinet. Varawut has said that one of his biggest accomplishments as environment minister is increasing Thailand’s participation in intergovernmental carbon credit schemes. He is the party’s economic team leader.

Other key figures: Kanchana Silpa-archa (former deputy education minister), Prapat Potsuton (former agriculture minister and party secretary-general), Nikorm Chamnong (former deputy transportation minister), Chartchai Payunavichai (former Omsin Bank managing director), Santi Kiranand (former MP)

Key policy proposals:

  • Introduce a carbon credit system to Thailand
  • Amend the constitution according to the “Banharn model”
  • Provide 3,000 baht in monthly benefits for pensioners and the disabled 

Click here for the party’s website

More coverage from Thai Enquirer:


Chart Pattana Kla is the result of a merger between two parties: Chart Pattana, based in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima, and the Kla Party, which was founded by two prominent former members of the Democrat Party.

Party chairman Suwat Liptapanlop has said that the party is a “niche market” party focused on economic policy. To that end, the party has been highly focused on cost-of-living proposals.

However, with Chart Pattana having won only 3 seats in 2019, it remains to be seen whether its merger with Kla will net the party more seats nationwide.

Prime ministerial candidates: 

  • Suwat Liptapallop: Suwat is the party’s chairman. He first entered politics in 1988 and rose to prominence under Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan, who later founded the Chart Pattana party. Suwat has held a variety of cabinet posts, including deputy prime minister, science minister, transport minister, industry minister, labour minister, and justice minister. 
  • Korn Chatikavanij: Korn is the party’s leader. A former chairman of JP Morgan Thailand, he previously served as Finance Minister in the Abhisit government, overseeing Thailand’s economic recovery during the global financial crisis. In this role, he was recognized by the Financial Times’ Banker Magazine as Global Finance Minister of the Year. He previously left the Democrat Party to form the Kla Party, which then merged into the Chart Pattana Party. 
  • Tewan Liptapallop: Tewan is the party’s secretary general and was formerly the party’s head before the merger with Kla. He previously served as the minister attached to the prime minister’s office. 

Other key figures: Attawit Suwannapakdee (former MP), Kobsak Sabhavasu (former deputy prime minister), Worawoot Ounjai (founder of OfficeMate), Wannarat Channukul (former minister of energy)

Key policy proposals:

  • Raise 5 trillion baht in national revenue through a variety of new economic strategies
  • Eliminate credit bureau blacklists and switch a credit scoring system that allows greater ease of access to loans
  • Reduce income taxes; those making under 40,000 baht per month pay no taxes 

Click here for the party’s website

More coverage from Thai Enquirer:


Sudarat Keyuraphan, previously Pheu Thai’s prime ministerial candidate in 2019, left the party to form the new Thai Sang Thai Party.

It faces an uphill task, however, after electoral laws were changed favoring larger parties, and merger talks with Somkid Jatusripitak’s Sang Anakot Thai Party broke down.

Thai Sang Thai is running as another anti-Prayut party, and it hopes that Sudarat’s appeal will net it seats, as it did in the Bangkok councillor elections last year. 

Prime ministerial candidates: 

  • Sudarat Keyuraphan: Sudarat is the party’s leader. A highly experienced politician, she entered politics in the 1990s as part of the Palang Dharma party and later served as health minister under Thaksin, implementing the 30-baht healthcare scheme. She also served as agriculture minister. She ran for prime minister in 2019, but did not win a seat in Parliament as Pheu Thai did not win any party-list seats that year. 
  • Supant Mongkolsuthree: Supant is the party’s economic team leader. He was previously a businessman and served as the former chairman of the Thai Federation of Industries. 
  • Sita Divari: Sita is the party’s secretary-general. A former F-16 pilot, Sita previously served as Member of Parliament and the Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson under Thaksin Shinawatra. He ran unsuccessfully last year for Bangkok governor. 

Other key figures: Anudith Nakornthap (former minister of information and communication technology), Karun Hosakul (former Pheu Thai MP), Takorn Tantasith (former NBTC secretary-general)

Key policy proposals:

  • 3,000 baht pension for unemployed seniors who do not receive other benefits
  • Income tax exemptions for those making less than 300,000 baht a year 
  • No taxes on SMEs for 3 years to aid with Covid recovery 

Click here for the party’s website

More coverage from Thai Enquirer:


Seri Ruam Thai spent the previous four years in opposition. Without a strong local base (it failed to win any constituency seats at the last election), Seri Ruam Thai is another party facing an uphill battle to maintain its seats.

Although its leader Seripisuth Temeeyaves has heavily criticized Prayut in his parliamentary speeches, at this election he has left the door open to supporting General Prawit for prime minister. 

Prime ministerial candidate: 

  • Seripisuth Temeeyaves was the national police commander and is the party leader. He is nicknamed the “Hero of Nakae” for his battles against the Communist Party of Thailand, and was given a Rama Medal for Gallantry in Action, usually awarded to soldiers and not policemen. Seripisuth is known for his outspoken speeches against the Prayut government.

Other key figures: Watchara Na Wangkanai (party secretary-general and MP), Somchai Srisutthiyakorn (former chairman of the Election Commission)

Key policy proposals:

  • Military reform: ending military conscription and eliminating military courts 
  • Major police reforms
  • Free undergraduate education and cancelling student loan debt

Click here for the party’s website


  • Prachachat (11) is an opposition regional party focused on the Deep South, led by Wan Muhammad Noor Matha, a former deputy prime minister.
  • The Action Coalition Party (35), known in Thai as Ruam Palang, was founded by PDRC firebrand Suthep Thaugsuban. 
  • Thai Pakdeee (21): the ultraroyalist Thai Pakdee party led by former Democrat politician Warong Dechgitvigrom is running on anti-corruption policies and lower energy bills. It has also heavily used rhetoric against student protestors.
  • Zendai was formed by Chris Potrananda, a co-founder of the Future Forward Party, after internal disagreements with the Move Forward leadership. Using the same name as the Covid-relief foundation also founded by Chris, they hope to capture some seats in Bangkok and other major urban cities.


Party-list candidates: Some surprises as party-list MPs announced for parties

Economic policies: Party readiness and economic policies 

Healthcare policies: A look at the healthcare policies of major Thai political parties

LGBTQ+ policies: Parties’ pledges for the LGBT+ community

Education: Thailand’s political parties must not neglect education? 

Competitiveness: Can Thailand’s political parties take us out of the middle income trap?

Party switching: Horse trading in Thai politics

Young politicians: A new generation of politician

Make sure your voice is heard! Please don’t forget to cast your vote on May 14th.

This voter guide was written with assistance from Teerapat Kammarabutr.


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