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Thai election

Thaksin stronghold transforms into Thai opposition battleground

Pheu Thai seeks to defend north against Move Forward challenge

Pheu Thai's Srettha Thavisin and supporters at a Chiang Mai rally on May 10: "We want a big statement win," Srettha says. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- Thailand's leading opposition Pheu Thai party chose the city of Chiang Mai as its last campaign stop ahead of Sunday's elections, making a final pitch to northern voters in a bid to sweep the province's 10 seats and preserve its electoral firewall.

Loyalty and affection run deep in the north for party founder and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was born and raised in the San Kamphaeng district. Pheu Thai is favored to win the most seats but has faced a late-stage challenge from the progressive Move Forward party, its erstwhile ally in the pro-democracy camp.

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