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To skeptics, Sunday’s Thai election was yet another military coup, though carried out with ballots rather than bullets. A more hopeful assessment is that the Southeast Asian nation is finally taking politics out of the streets and to where it belongs: Parliament. Both views have merits.

Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, who seized power five years ago, is poised to retain it — as an elected leader. The pro-army Palang Pracharath won 7.7 million votes with 94 percent counted, according to unofficial results posted on the Election Commission’s Facebook page. The country’s largest party, the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai, was pushed into second place with 7.23 million votes. It’s the first electoral defeat for the pro-Thaksin camp since 2001.

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