BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand went to the polls under heavy security on Sunday in an election that could push the divided country deeper into political turmoil and leave the winner paralysed for months by street protests, legal challenges and legislative limbo.
Apart from a few scuffles voting was relatively peaceful, a day after seven people were wounded by gunshots and explosions during a clash between supporters and opponents of embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in a north Bangkok stronghold of her Puea Thai Party.
Here are some numbers on the election:
- There are 49 million eligible voters for 375 constituencies. A further 125 seats are allocated based on the percentage of votes each party wins.
- Bangkok, dominated by the Democrat Party in the last election in 2011, has 33 constituencies.
- Out of 2.16 million people who registered for early voting on Jan 26, some 440,000 were unable to vote. These people will have another chance on Feb 23.
- In the last election in 2011, Ms Yingluck's Puea Thai Party won 265 seats with 48 per cent of the vote and the Democrats got 159 seats with 35 per cent. The turnout was 75 per cent.
FEB 2 VOTING PARTIALLY DISRUPTED
- The Election Commission (EC) says 89 per cent of polling stations nationwide were able to function. Voting was disrupted in 18 per cent or 69 of the 375 constituencies. This affected 18 of 77 provinces.
- Around 130,000 police were deployed to maintain order at 93,952 polling stations nationwide.
- The EC says official results will not be announced on Sunday, but it is aiming to do it on Feb 23.
- Candidates were unable to register in 28 constituencies because of action by the anti-government protesters, who also blocked the delivery of voting papers to some polling stations. By-elections will have to be held there, as and when possible.
PROBABLE DELAY TO OPENING PARLIAMENT
- At least 95 per cent of the 500 lawmakers must be present for parliament to open and then proceed to the election of a prime minister. Given the delay in registering candidates in some places, Sunday's vote cannot deliver a quorum.
- Holding by-elections could take several months, especially as the constituencies involved are in areas of the south of the country loyal to the Democrat Party and supportive of the present anti-government protest movement.