Parliamentary elections in Thailand have been very sober for several years – in the truest sense of the word: Since 2014, there has been a 24-hour alcohol ban on votes nationwide. Although the polling stations did not open until Sunday morning, the serving and sale of wine, beer and spirits has been prohibited since Saturday evening at 18 p.m. (local time). Anyone who violates this risks a heavy fine or even imprisonment. The order also applies to private parties, weddings or birthdays.
The background to this regulation: According to the government's will, the electorate should make their choice with a clear head – and the election itself should be peaceful.
The ban applies not only to voters, but without exception to all persons who are in the kingdom, including tourists. In shops and supermarkets, signs and notices point out the sales ban to customers, and in pubs and restaurants, waiters explained to guests at the entrance on Saturday evening that no alcohol would be served.
This Sunday, 52 million people are called upon to elect a new parliament. Polling stations close at 17 p.m. local time. An hour later, beer can be tapped again.