A general election in Thailand on April 18 resulted in another fragmented government open to army influence.
(GARY BURNS) BANGKOK:
GV PAN AND CU Election posters in Bangkok streets (4 shots)
SV Soldiers looking at electoral lists
SV & CU INTERIOR Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda receiving ballot paper from official (3 shots)
GV People queueing to vote
CU Troops in line
SV Official places vote in ballot box
SV Soldiers votes placed in ballot box (3 shots)
(NBC) TAN SIEM CAMP:
LV & SV Refugees in camp (5 shots)
CU Vietnamese army deserter speaking (VIETNAMESE SOT)
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Background: A general election in Thailand on April 18 resulted in another fragmented government open to army influence. The campaign had concentrated on the choice for the electorate between democracy and dictatorship since most parties deplore the extent of military power on political life. Last month the military made an unsuccessful attempt to amend the constitution in an effort to retain the powers of the appointed military-dominated Senate, and to allow serving soldiers to hold cabinet posts. The election, which was held two months earlier than originally scheduled came only days before the introduction of a new voting system designed to strengthen political parties and avoid the fragmentation of the Thai government. From the results, another coalition of the three main parties, the Social Action Party, the Thai Nation Party and the Democrat Party, seems certain. It is also likely that General Prem Tinsulanonda will head the government since he is popular with the parties and is favoured by the armed forces and the Thai monarchy. The General survived a three day abortive military coup in 1981 and has distanced himself from factional disputes. He faces many internal problems if he is returned to office, including the situation on the country's borders. Thousands of Kampuchean refugees are in Thai camps having fled the Vietnamese invasion of their country, and are currently under attack from Vietnamese forces. A Vietnamese deserter at the Tan Siem camp said he had been forced into the army and left because "the communists kill the poor. I left to fight for real freedom."