In the wake of the April 2009 crushing of the Red Shirts, there was some speculation that Abhisit may be tempted to call an election sooner rather than later. I discussed this with a seasoned inside observer of Thai politics and he assured me that Abhisit would only call an election when he and his backers were sure they could win.

The Pheua Thai victories last week (in Sakon Nakhon 3) and this week (in Sisaket 1) suggest that a general election may be delayed as long as possible. According to Matichon Online‘s unofficial figures Pheua Thai scored 123,557 votes compated to Chart Thai Pattana’s 75,420 votes. That’s 62 percent of the vote to Pheua Thai, almost exactly the same percentage as they scored last week in Sakon Nakhon 3. In the 2007 general election PPP scored about 52 percent in Sisaket 1, so they will be celebrating a 10 percent increase.

The Pheua Thai/Thaksin brand still has considerable electoral potency. As the unsuccessful candidate lamented: “even a lamp-post could win for Pheua Thai.”