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Turbulent Thailand

Thai pro-democracy candidates fail to win any key regional posts

Party leader Thanathorn apologizes for defeat but vows to continue the fight

Future Forward Party's former leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit speaks with Nikkei in Bangkok in March. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

BANGKOK -- A Thai political party that enjoys strong support from the younger population lost in all 42 provinces in which it was contesting for the provincial head.

In Sunday's local elections, Move Forward, the successor party to the now-banned Future Forward, sought the chief executive position of the provincial administrative organizations in 42 provinces and ran more than 1,000 candidates for PAO member slots in 52 provinces.

The party managed to win just 55 seats in 18 provinces but no chief executive positions, according to its leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

"We apologize for not being able to win any posts for provincial heads," he told reporters Monday, and vowed to continue to call for reform of the constitution, the military and the monarchy.

The election results will be finalized after claims of fraud or irregularities have been received by the election authorities.

This was the first local election to be held since the 2014 coup. Move Forward was supported by the youth taking part in the pro-democracy protests in Bangkok, and the nationwide election was seen as a bellwether of the movement's popularity.

Thanathorn's Future Forward Party surprised many by emerging as the third-largest party in the 2019 Thai general election.

The party has since been dissolved by the Constitutional Court on charges that Thanathorn lent his own money to the party in violation of the law. Thanathorn was banned from politics for 10 years and had supported this local election from the sidelines.

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