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Tea Leaves

In Thai elections, flaunting wealth is a winner

Candidates sport luxury watches and designer shoes to push populist policies on campaign trail

Thailand's prime ministerial election has provided fodder for both policy wonks and fashion watchers. (Nikkei montage/Source photos by Ken Kobayashi; Bhumjaithai party, Move Forward party via Line)

BANGKOK -- The era of red shirts versus yellow shirts is over -- at least, in terms of campaign-trail fashion ahead of Thailand's May 14 election.

Style and color can be vote winners. I have covered elections in Japan, the Philippines and the U.S., where the choice of a blue tie versus red, or a pantsuit versus a dress, conveys different messages. Colors can be politically loaded long after votes have been cast -- pink remains a sign of opposition in the Philippines a year after the election.

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