The Thai baht soared to a five-week high on Monday after voters backed pro-democracy parties in the elections, signaling a possible end to the military-backed rule that has lasted for almost a decade.

The baht strengthened 0.9% to 33.70 per US dollar, the highest level since April 5, as investors welcomed the prospect of a more stable and democratic government.

According to unofficial results, the pro-democracy parties, led by the Move Forward Party (MFP) and the Pheu Thai Party, won a combined 255 seats in the 500-member lower house of parliament, while the pro-military parties, led by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPP) and the United Thai Nation Party, won only 205 seats.

The MFP and Pheu Thai have vowed to form a coalition government and push for constitutional changes that would reduce the power of the military and the monarchy.

However, the final outcome of the elections is still uncertain, as the upper house of parliament, which has 250 seats, is entirely appointed by the junta. The prime minister will be chosen by a joint vote of both houses, giving the junta an advantage. Moreover, there are allegations of irregularities and fraud in the vote counting process, which could lead to legal challenges and protests.

The baht’s rally may be short-lived if the political situation remains unresolved or worsens in the coming days. Analysts warn that Thailand still faces many challenges, such as reviving its pandemic-hit economy, tackling inequality and corruption, and addressing social and environmental issues. The country also needs to heal its deep divisions and restore trust in its democratic institutions.

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