Thailand election candidates lodge complaints over ‘irregularities’

Several anti-military candidates in Thailand have lodged fresh complaints with the Election Commission on Friday over bungled tallies and alleged vote-buying following, a controversial ballot that has left politics in the junta-ruled kingdom in limbo.

A military-backed party and its main rival led by an exiled billionaire have both claimed the right to lead the government in the wake of Sunday’s polls, with official final tallies delayed for weeks.

Candidates from at least two parties issued complaints with the commission on Friday over alleged irregularities they claim could skew final vote counts.

A member of the anti-junta Future Forward party accused the pro-military Phalang Pracharat of currying favour among local officials by gifting them cash and gifts.

“It’s against the law, it can be seen as vote-buying,” Future Forward spokeswoman Pannika Wanich said.

Another Future Forward candidate reported voter intimidation inside a Bangkok polling station.

“There was a military officer standing inside the polling station to see whether military officials have voted for the party he wanted,” candidate Chris Potranan said in a complaint filed on Friday.

A member of the anti-junta Pheu Thai party also lodged objections over allegedly dodgy counts in his Bangkok constituency.

Continue reading SBS News: Thai election candidates lodge complaints over ‘irregularities’

Preliminary Thai Election Results Are In, But Concerns About Accuracy Persist

Thailand’s election commission has released the unofficial vote count from Sunday’s election – the country’s first since before the military seized power in 2014.

The results show Palang Pracharath, the pro-military party allied with the ruling junta, winning 8.4 million votes. The opposition party, Pheu Thai, won 7.9 million. A new opposition party called Future Forward had a strong showing with just over 6 million votes.

Thailand’s general election is drawing considerable attention for two reasons: it’s the first in eight years — the last five under an un-elected post-coup government — and there have been persistent concerns of voting irregularities.

NPR’s Michael Sullivan reports from Thailand that official results won’t come before May, and it’s not yet clear which party will have the seats required to put together a government.

“An opposition coalition led by Pheu Thai says its won a majority of seats and the right to form the new government,” Sullivan reports. “But the pro-military party says winning the popular vote makes it the logical choice.”

Continue reading NPR: Preliminary Thai Election Results Are In, But Concerns About Accuracy Persist

Junta-controlled election commission says Palang Pracharath has most votes, turnout at 75%

With 100% of ballots counted, the Palang Pracharath Party has won the popular vote, with 8.4 million compared to 7.9 million for Pheu Thai, on a turnout of 75%, the Election Commission announced on Thursday.

The EC released the total number of votes for each party at 3pm, a day earlier than previously announced.

According to the EC, the statistics were from a 100% vote count, but have not been endorsed yet.

The data showed increases of around 500,000 votes for both PPRP and Pheu Thai from the data at a 94% count, which stood at 7.9 million and 7.4 million respectively,

According to the EC, 38.3 million people voted on Sunday, up from 33 million in earlier reports. The figure translated into a turnout of 74.69%.

Of the 38.3 million ballots, 36.5 million (92.8%) were valid. Vote-no ballots totalled 605,392, or 1.6%.

A total of 186 complaints were filed as of Thursday, it said.

The data showed only the votes accrued to all 81 parties, totalling 35.5 million.

The 10 parties with the most votes are: Palang Pracharath (8.43 million), Pheu Thai (7.92 million), Future Forward (6.26 million), Democrat (3.95 million), Bhumjaithai (3.73 million), Thai Liberal 826,517, Chartthaipattana (782,030), New Economics (485,660), Prachachat (485,436) and Puea Chat (419,388).

Continue reading Bangkok Post: Palang Pracharath has most votes, turnout at 75%

Thai Election Results Removed After Media Spot Discrepancies

The Election Commission on Thursday took down its full voting report hours after releasing it to the media, amid growing questions of the results’ numerous discrepancies.

The commission posted the report to the media chat group minutes after an abrupt news conference, in which officials declared the pro-junta party as the most-voted party. However, the report was deleted hours later when reporters discover numerous inconsistent numbers.

Another published report is still online but it is unclear whether it is the final, accurate version.

Discrepancies include a difference in raw votes announced by the Commission and its official document released later; numbers of voters not matching numbers of ballots used; and total votes awarded to political parties not matching number of ballots declared valid.

Voter turnout was 74.69 percent, higher than the initial report of 65 percent, the commission said, without explaining the hike. Leaders of Pheu Thai and Future Forward parties on Thursday afternoon called upon the Election Commission to clarify that increase.

One reporter asked in the commission’s media chat group why officials also announced different numbers of eligible voters before and after the election.

Official in charge of the chat group did not provide any immediate explanation about the inconsistency nor say if it had replaced the report with a corrected version. But commissioner Krit Urwongse said the discrepancy could be due to some voters who registered to vote at polling stations leaving without casting ballots.

Voters typically received ballots and marked them almost immediately after registration.

According to the report on the commission’s official website, the five most-voted parties are Phalang Pracharath (8.4 million votes), Pheu Thai (7.9 million votes), Future Forward (6.2 million votes), Democrats (3.9 million votes) and Bhumjaithai (3.7 million votes).

Continue reading Khaosod English: Election Results Removed After Media Spot Discrepancies

Ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra ‘happy’ over efforts to form pro-democracy coalition

Thaksin Shinawatra said he was “happy” after seven parties collected enough votes to form a “democratic front” coalition government.

The former prime minister tweeted on Wednesday that he was “happy with Thailand” after the seven parties agreed to form a coalition with more than half of the 500 seats in the House of Representatives.

His message came after the Pheu Thai Party signed agreements to bring six other parties under its umbrella with an estimated total of 255 MPs — enough to form a government, although not enough to elect the prime minister. The vote for PM also includes 250 junta-appointed senators, meaning that at least 376 votes are required — something the coalition will struggle to achieve.

Six parties signed an agreement to align themselves with Pheu Thai on Tuesday and the New Economics Party confirmed later in the day that it would join the so-called democratic front.

Thaksin called on other parties to refrain from using him as a litmus test for their support. “I just want to be a supporter for the country to return to democracy,” he wrote.

On the same day that Pheu Thai announced its alliance, the board of Armed Forces Preparatory School alumni resolved to withdraw his alumnus achievement awards, according to an army source.

Source Bangkok Post: Thaksin ‘happy’ over efforts to form pro-democracy coalition

Why Thailand’s election looks headed for deadlock

A “democratic front” of seven parties said on Wednesday that it had the right to form Thailand’s next government because, together, the allies won a majority of lower house of parliament seats in last weekend’s inconclusive election.

Meanwhile, the pro-military Palang Pracharat party, which wants junta chief and leader of a 2014 coup Prayuth Chan-ocha to stay on as prime minister, has also claimed the right to form a government based on its early lead in the popular vote.

In truth, it’s not that simple for either side.

The fragmented parliament that voters handed them will – instead of the return to democracy that many had hoped the election would deliver – plunge the country into political gridlock and uncertainty.

Here is why both sides will struggle to form an effective government to take over after May 9, when final results are announced.

Continue reading Reuters

Thailand Ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra Slams ‘Terrible’ Election

Exiled politician Thaksin Shinawatra on Monday slammed Thailand’s election as rigged, while the pro-junta Palang Pracharat Party (PPP) said it was looking to form a government despite winning fewer seats in parliament.

Thaksin’s comments via international media came as results of Sunday’s general election remained unclear, with only partial results reported and both PPP and Thaksin’s Pheu Thai party declaring themselves as positioned to lead the next government or form a ruling coalition.

“This is a terrible, and sad, moment for my country,” Thaksin wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Times that blasted Thailand’s junta.

The polls were the first nationwide vote held since the military overthrew Thaksin’s sister, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in a coup nearly five years ago. Thaksin, a former PM, was himself deposed by military force in 2006.

“People in office are supposed to come and go while the system remains. This military government is ready to destroy the system simply to keep its people in power,” Thaksin said in his op-ed article.

Continue reading BenarNews: Thai Ex-leader Thaksin Slams ‘Terrible’ Election