Thai election results delayed, anti-junta party claims win

April FrancisMar 27, 2019

"Our winning results (with the most votes nationwide) show that voters have given us the mandate to govern the country", he said at a press conference after the EC announced the unofficial results. Electoral authorities said they'll announce the official results May 9, though failure by any single party to win an outright majority will lead to political wheeling and dealing to form a coalition. Pheu Thai, a party linked to the self-exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra whose loyalists have won every election since 2001, fell short of expectations that it would outdistance the military's proxy party.

PNet, a group of 2,600 independent volunteer election observers, reported multiple violations in the process of voting and vote counting, and numerous observers were denied access to polling stations.

"I knew that the junta running Thailand wanted to stay in power, but I can not believe how far it has gone to manipulate the general election on Sunday", Thaksin wrote in the opinion piece in the New York Times.

The pro-military Palang Pracharat party won 7.6 million votes - holding on to a lead that could give it a majority in parliament.

The strong popular vote showing by the pro-junta Palang Pracharat Party stunned voters who had hoped the poll would loosen the grip that traditional elites and the military hold on power in a country that has one of the highest measures of inequality in the world. "I hope to see that, but it seems to be a very dimmed hope", said Siripan Nogsuan Sawasdee, Chulalongkorn University political scientist. The Thaksin-linked Pheu Thai Party trailed with 7.23 million votes, showed the initial data.

After the poll the prime minister will be chosen by 500 elected MPs and 250 senators who are chosen by the...

The election is the latest chapter in a almost two-decade struggle pitching conservative forces including the military, courts and ultra-royalists against the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a tycoon who upended tradition-bound Thai politics with a populist political revolution and is now despised by the military.

A coordinator for Thailand-based election monitor We Watch said voter education was insufficient.

As the results came in, dismay rippled out across the pro-democracy camp, with prospects diminishing of an anti-junta coalition squeezing into power.

Thailand's powerful King Maha Vajiralongkorn issued a statement on the eve of the election that said the role of leaders is to stop "bad people" from gaining power and causing chaos.

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Together, they will vote for a prime minister after Sunday's poll.

About 400,000 people signed a petition to dissolve the commission, and more disputes are expected across the political spectrum.

Three candidates from the junta's Palang Pracharat were the first to file petitions for a recount after losing in their constituencies. "They have so many good political parties, about two or three, but I cannot mention their name, it may be against the law".

Turnout was also 64%, much lower than forecasts.

But even if Pheu Thai manages to overturn the latest vote count, it will face significant obstacles to forming a new government in the lower house.

"Everyone knows in Thailand, everyone worldwide that observed the election in Thailand, knows that (there) is irregularities", he told AFP in an interview in Hong Kong. ANFREL deployed 34 monitors around the country covering at least 1,000 polling stations.

Coming third was Future Forward Party with some 5.2 million votes, followed by Bhumjaithai (proud Thais) Party which has gained about 3.2 million votes.

Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruankit, whose party is key to any alliance, told reporters Monday that his "greatest concern" is that the junta may stay in power.

Mr Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup, and has lived in self-exile since 2008.

Prayut toppled the civilian government of Thaksin's younger sister Yingluck in 2014.

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