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Thai election

Economic discontent simmers among Thailand's rural voters

Stagnant wages and farm incomes could tip March election in opposition's favor

Farmers work in Thailand's northern Chiang Mai Province. Rural areas have been slower to recover from the recession than cities. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

BANGKOK -- Thailand's military junta will put itself to a democratic test in the country's general election slated for March 24. Among the key issues are the government's economic policies.

 Although recent data should put the government in a strong position, many voters in rural areas feel left out of the country's economic recovery. Among them are supporters of exiled former prime ministers Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister, Yingluck, whose populist policies put money in their pockets. These voters may hold the balance of power.

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