(Bloomberg) -- A record number of candidates and dozens of parties are adding some spice to Thailand’s first general election since a military coup in 2014.

Votes will be cast Sunday in a contest pitting backers of the military and royalist establishment against supporters of exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra. A party linked to Thaksin already made waves after being dissolved for nominating Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya as its prime ministerial candidate.

Beyond the drama over the main players are many other interesting parties among about 80 taking part in the election.


This party put forward Thailand’s first transgender prime ministerial candidate, Pauline Ngarmpring. It’s thought to have about 20 candidates that are openly LGBT, a group that hasn’t been well-represented in the Thai political sphere.

Action Coalition for Thailand

In male-dominated Thai politics, this pro-junta party stands out for promoting women candidates. It’s proposed more than 100 for seats in the lower house. The party is led by former Bank of Thailand Governor Chatu Mongol Sonakul.

Thai Rak Tham

During campaign rallies, this party proposed legalizing sex toys to curb the risk of sexual assaults and sexually transmitted diseases, according to local reports. The party said the policy would also be a way to mop up excess rubber supplies in one of the world’s biggest producers of the material.

Pheu Chart

This is a party linked to Thaksin and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government was unseated in the coup. Some of Pheu Chart’s male candidates changed their name to Thaksin, and at least one woman candidate changed her name to Yingluck, to ensure voters connect the party to the Shinawatras, who are thought to remain popular among millions of voters.

Palang Thong Thin Thai

Candidates for this party include a former television star, and the winner of Drag Race Thailand. Billboards for its election campaign look like science-fiction movie posters.

To contact the reporter on this story: Siraphob Thanthong-Knight in Bangkok at rthanthongkn@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Jagtiani at sjagtiani@bloomberg.net, Ruth Pollard

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