For the rest of today, and long into the night, New Mandala will be providing almost constant coverage of Thailand’s 2011 election. By this stage our readers are well-and-truly aware of the outlines of the contest and the potential implications for the country.
It promises to be a lively night. Of course right now things are still blurry, and we will have to wait until a few hours after the polls have closed across Thailand before we start to get a sharper view of the results.
In the meantime, if you are still wanting to get a flavour of what is at stake then this article, published overnight by The Los Angeles Times, is worth a look. Reuters provides a useful head-to-head analysis of the policies of the Democrat and Pheau Thai parties. And if you want greater interpretation then this long article does a good job. It ends with a comment from Thammasat University’s Associate Professor Somjai Phagaphasvivat. He notes that “Thailand is still a semi-democracy…Violence, division and polarization will remain a hallmark of Thai democracy for the foreseeable future.” Readers looking for something different could also dip into Giles Ji Ungpakorn’s call for Thai socialists to vote Pheua Thai.
Around the blogs Khi Kwai has started with some very helpful comments on the Thai Rath electorate-by-electorate projection map. Bangkok Pundit and Saksith Saiyasombut over at Asian Correspondent will also be having a busy night. There are so many useful feeds and blogs out there — it will, inevitably enough, be hard to keep up.
This is also the first Thai election when Twitter will be breaking the results and keeping everyone on their toes. Long-time correspondents like Newley Purnell, Thanong Khanthong and Andrew MacGregor Marshall will be worth a look, as will the dynamic Twitter feed of Zoe Daniel (the ABC correspondent in Bangkok). This data (mostly in Thai) provides a handy indication of where the Thai Internet action is (thanks to Jon Russell for pointing it out).
You can follow us @newmandala. And for those not wanting to miss a beat, #thaielection is the hash tag of choice. Most of the tweets there are in Thai; as the night rolls on we plan to provide translations of some of the meatiest. #thaivote11 gets less traffic, but is predominately in English.
Please feel free to add your own useful sources. In the next hour or so things will start to really pick up speed here at New Mandala. Stay tuned.