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Thai election

How Move Forward shocked Thailand's old guard

Party faces uphill battle to win military-picked Senate backing for top office

Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat, center, parades around Bangkok's Democracy Monument to celebrate the election result on May 15. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

BANGKOK -- Thai voters delivered a surprise victory to the progressive Move Forward Party on Sunday, a stunning rebuke of not only the country's incumbent military-linked rulers but also to a political establishment that ran elections based on personal patronages.

Move Forward's campaign challenged conventional wisdom about Thai politics and won in provinces previously thought to be impenetrable. The vote-rich north and northeast were long known to be loyal to the Pheu Thai party, while the conservative south was a stronghold for the Democrat Party and others in the ruling coalition.

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