As Thailand goes to the polls on Sunday there seems little to separate the main competing parties. Following the massive street protests of last year, voters are being wooed with policies aimed primarily at improving the lot of the rural poor.
Promises splashed on campaign posters across the country include wage increases, tax cuts, extensive spending on infrastructure - including high speed trains – and free tablet PCs for schoolchildren.
Perhaps in response to this, the build-up to the election so far has been essentially peaceful.
While these policies could spur consumer spending and investment, there are fears they could also result in higher debt and inflation. The Thai economy has already been slowing and inflation in June at 4.2 per cent was the highest in nearly three years.
There are also concerns that widespread wage increases would lead to an inflationary rise in the cost of business in Thailand, which is Southeast Asia's second-largest economy. Politicians seem to be bowing to pressure for increases in the minimum wage – a central issue in the protests last year.
According to recent figures from the World Bank, Thailand currently has one of Asia’s widest income disparities with the richest 20 per cent of the population earning about 55 per cent of the income, and the poorest fifth getting 4 per cent.
Higher wages could threaten Thailand's cost advantage. An average Thai factory worker earned $263 (£163) a month according to a 2010 survey by the Japan External Trade Organisation, less than India's $269, Malaysia's $298 or China's $303.
Over the past three decades the country has moved from being primarily agricultural to increasingly high-end manufacturing and export driven.
Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Board has said this week that the election results should not have a significant impact on the Thai economy, which – regardless of who wins – should grow by at least 3.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent this year.
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