Thailand's general election: By-elections to be held, ballots to be recounted in some areas

Voters at a voting station in the Huay Kwang district in Bangkok, on polling day on March 24, 2019. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

BANGKOK (DPA) - By-elections will be held at six polling stations, while votes will be recounted at two others in Thailand following last month's general election, the Election Commission said on Thursday (April 4).

The announcement came amid numerous allegations of voting irregularities, such as reports of mismatched numbers, unqualified voters found among the list of eligible voters, and repeated delays in announcing election results.

"The order came after it was found that the number of ballots counted did not match the number of voters who came to vote in some polling stations," said Mr Sawaeng Boonmee, the EC's deputy director-general.

The decision came one and a half weeks after Thailand held its first general election on March 24. It was the first national poll since the 2014 coup and the first such election in nearly eight years.

The commission released preliminary results last Thursday, five days after the election was held, 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 that 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 party that won most constituency seats at 137, followed by Palang Pracharath at 97 seats.

Which parties will form a government remains unclear.

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