The establishment is trying to extend and "legitimise its power" through the election and the constitution it enacted, said Punchada Sirivunnabood, an associate professor at Mahidol University’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities near Bangkok.
A big turnout is expected in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, after Thais thronged ballot boxes in advanced voting last weekend. Polls open at 8 a.m. and close nine hours later, when counting begins. A 24-hour alcohol ban will be enforced from 6 pm Saturday.
Provisional results about the number of votes and constituency seats won by each party are expected on Sunday night. But clarity on who will form the government and become prime minister may not emerge for days or weeks until the tally is certified, after which parliament must sit to elect a premier.
Thailand’s establishment elites have tussled with Thaksin’s populist alliance for over a decade -- a fault line that could bring gridlock to the legislature.