Thai polls: By-elections, ballot recount in some areas

BANGKOK • Thailand will hold by-elections at six polling stations, while votes will be recounted at two others following last month's general election, the Election Commission (EC) said yesterday.

The move came amid claims of voting irregularities, such as reports of mismatched numbers, unqualified voters and repeated delays in announcing polls results.

"It was found that the numbers of ballots counted did not match the numbers of voters who came to vote in some polling stations," Mr Sawaeng Boonmee, the EC's deputy director-general, said in announcing the new polls and recount.

The decision came 11/2 weeks after the March 24 general election - the first since a coup in 2014.

The EC released preliminary results last Thursday, five days after the election, and will not announce the official results until May 9.

Widespread suspicion of electoral fraud led to a protest over the weekend, with calls for the impeachment of election commissioners and the top trending hashtag "Election Commission busted" on social media.

Many believe the election might have been rigged to pave the way for junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha to stay in power as Prime Minister.

 
 

According to the preliminary results, the pro-military Palang Pracharath Party won 8.4 million votes, finishing ahead of anti-military party Pheu Thai, which received 7.9 million votes.

But it was Pheu Thai that won the most constituency seats at 137, followed by Palang Pracharat at 97 seats. It remains unclear which parties will have the numbers to form a government.

DPA

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2019, with the headline 'Thai polls: By-elections, ballot recount in some areas'. Print Edition | Subscribe