Thai vote results delayed, anti-junta party seeks leadership

Mar 27, 2019, 00:49
Thai vote results delayed, anti-junta party seeks leadership

"The only way that Thailand can prosper, we have to turn into full democracy, and we should have a free and fair election", he said.

That is almost half a million more votes than Pheu Thai, which nonetheless was confident Monday it would still win the majority of lower house seats.

Later yesterday, Phalang Pracharat Party leader Uttama Savanayana claimed his party had won the right to form the next government as more than 7.9 million people nationwide had voted for them. Thais voted for a 500-member parliament, which along with a 250-member junta-appointed Senate will decide the next prime minister.

As rivals scrambled to seize the political momentum, Pheu Thai's prime ministerial candidate Sudarat Keyuraphan said her party had won the "mandate from the people" to form a government.

The partial result did not say how numerous Lower House of Parliament constituencies its results reflected.

One party said it was considering a legal challenge over what it said were poll irregularities and, amid popular dismay over the partial results, the number of signatures on an online petition to impeach the Election Commission leapt by more than 300,000 over a few hours to more than half a million.

Although the king did not refer to any of the sides in the election race, there was speculation on social media that it was a coded reference to country's main political factions - broadly the middle class and urban establishment, who identify with the monarchy and the military, and their pro-Thaksin opponents.

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Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Pcl shares closed up 3 percent and steelmaker STP&I Pcl rose 2.5 percent.

"If you look at the number of ballots and the number of voter turnout, the ballots much more exceed the number of voter turnout in many, many provinces", he said.

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.

Concerns from the Thai middle-class and business interests kept the pressure on the junta to call elections, although the date was put back several times, as the military sorted out its proxy party support.

"We want to see new things from new people, rather than the same old politicians talking about the same things", said a 32-year old who wanted to be named only by her nickname, Kob, for fear of repercussion from her government-linked employer.

Pheu Thai is linked to former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, whose loyalists have won every election since 2001.

"The people made their decision clear", Kobsak said". Under the five years of military rule, critics of the junta were regularly jailed or sent to "re-education camps" and Prayut had article 44 at his disposal, a law that gave him absolute power.

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Although formal ties between Thaksin and Pheu Thai are now legally banned, he amplified the accusations of foul play in an op-ed in The New York Times on Monday.

The leader of Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, has been cited with energising youths who grew up under military rule, creating a dedicated fan club that mobs the fresh-faced billionaire and clamours for selfies. But they overreached themselves by nominating the Thai king's sister as their candidate for prime minister, and instead of gaining some royal luster, found themselves disgraced and dissolved.

It was the monarch's second notable intervention in politics recently.

The Shinawatras say they have simply recognised the economic and democratic aspirations of Thailand's majority.

Narongsak Plodmechai, chief executive officer of SCB Asset Management, which has 1.5 trillion baht ($47.27 billion) under management, said while institutional investors have been defensive towards Thai stocks, the election result could change that.

Mr Thaksin added: "We accept that, okay, there may (have been) some kind of hope (that) the pro-democracy parties should (have) got more but it's less, but anyway the rigged election must be clarified by the ECT".

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