See More on Facebook

Politics

Thaksin-linked Pheu Thai leads pro-junta party in initial tally

Counting not done after Election Commission says its systems experienced technical failure.


Written by

Updated: March 26, 2019

Pheu Thai, a political party linked to exiled tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra, led with 137 of 350 constituency seats in an initial tally, followed by the military-backed Palang Pracharath party with 97 seats, according to data released by the Election Commission of Thailand on Monday (March 25).

The count, which did not include 150 party-list seats, showed that both major parties would need to form a coalition to take power in the 500-member lower house of parliament.

The youthful Future Forward Party, a new party with a stridently anti-junta stance, bagged 30 constituency seats, according to preliminary figures released by the commission.

The Election Commission released unofficial results of Sunday’s landmark poll at 4pm (5pm Singapore time) on Monday, amid allegations of election irregularities. It said that initial vote counts were accurate even though its computers were attacked, Bloomberg said.

Official results will not be known until May 9, several days after the coronation ceremony for King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

In a brief press conference early on Monday afternoon, commission secretary-general Jarungwit Phumma attributed conflicting vote count figures released on Sunday night to “human error”, and pledged to investigate all irregularities if the evidence was strong enough.

The commission called off the release of results at the last minute on Sunday night.

On Monday, the Pheu Thai party – which is estimated to have bagged the most number of seats in the Lower House – issued a statement demanding a probe into some three million “ghost” ballots that appeared in 10 provinces.

In Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces, it alleged, the number of ballots cast exceeded the number of eligible voters by over 400,000 in each province. This phenomenon was detected in Bangkok as well, it alleged.

On Twitter, “Election Fraud” in the Thai language was a top-trending hashtag.

Pheu Thai’s chief rival is the Palang Pracharath Party, which is aligned with the five-year-old military government and is trying to get prime minister and former coup leader Prayut Chan-o-cha returned as premier.

According to the Election Commission’s earlier tally, with 94 per cent of the votes counted, Palang Pracharath had secured 7.7 million votes and Pheu Thai 7.2 million. In third place was the Future Forward Party, with 5.3 million votes.

But it is the number of constituency seats held by each party, not total votes secured, that determines who will dominate the 500-seat House of Representatives.

Despite official tallies not being released yet earlier on Monday, both the pro-army Palang Pracharath and Thaksin-linked Pheu Thai parties had each claimed victory.

The Palang Pracharat party said on Monday it aims to form a government after winning the most votes, Reuters reported, with party spokesman Kobsak Pootrakool saying the party expects to gather 251 seats in the 500-seat House of Representatives to form a government.

“Palang Pracharat will talk to like-minded parties who share the same ideology and standpoint to move the country forward, which will take a while,” Mr Kobsak told reporters.

Meanwhile Bloomberg reported on Monday that Pheu Thai said they would seek to form a government after the party won the most seats in the election and the military-appointed Senate should follow the wishes of voters, according to comments from Sudarat Keyuraphan, the party’s candidate for prime minister.

“We’ll try to form a government coalition right away because that’s how people voted,” Ms Sudarat said. “We stood by our position that we won’t support the continuation of the military regime.”

Under the Constitution introduced after the 2014 coup, 250 appointed senators, mostly handpicked by the junta will vote jointly with the elected 500 Lower House members on their choice of prime minister.

To wield power in Parliament, a party or coalition must secure at least 376 seats, representing more than half of the 750 combined Lower House and Senate seats.

With most of the 250 Senate seats already aligned with the junta, this means that pro-Prayut parties need only muster another 126 seats in the election in order get him chosen as premier.

Analysts warn, however, that this arrangement throws policymaking into uncertain territory, as a minority government may struggle to get future laws passed.

Pheu Thai belongs to a political faction linked to deposed and fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra which has won every election since 2001. Royalist military factions, however, revile him for his populist policies mostly targeted at the populous upcountry regions.

This bitter divide had consumed the Kingdom until recently, with the entry of some seven million first-time voters with faint memory of the past turmoil.

On the eve of Thailand’s first election in eight years, the Royal Household Bureau issued a statement urging Thais to support “good people”.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Myanmar to be sincere in implementing Rohingya repatriation deal

This according to the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister. Bangladesh expects that Myanmar would be more tolerant towards Rohingyas after facing trial at the International Court of Justice, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said today. “My expectation is that Myanmar would be sincere in implementing the bilateral deal that signed with Bangladesh on repatriating Rohingyas from Bangladesh,” he told journalists at his ministry office in Dhaka. “Myanmar has invited me before a case lodged with the International Court of Justice. In response, I told that I would go there when the Rohingyas will go back to Myanmar,” the foreign minister said. “I also invited Myanmar to visit Bangladesh to talk to their Rohingya people and to understand their expectations,” Momen said. Globally it has been established that there was a massive crime committed against the Rohingyas, that was des


By Daily Star
December 16, 2019

Politics

10 US senators criticise Suu Kyi for representing military’s interest

Suu Kyi is in the Hague defending Myanmar from genocide accusations. Ten US Senators have severely criticized Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for representing the military’s interest before the International Court of Justice and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. “Representing the Burmese military’s interest before The Hague and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities would undermine what remaining credibility you have before the international community, including in the US Congress,” said a letter to Suu Kyi issued on December 9. The Senators said a defense of the Burmese military at this high-profile international forum is also an affront to the inclusive, multi-cultural and democratic Burma that she claims to champion. They said when Buddhist nationalism is on the rise in


By Daily Star
December 13, 2019

Politics

Japan: Koizumi offers no concrete plan on coal

The new environment minister needs to offer better ways to tackle climate change.  During a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday, Shinjiro Koizumi, the Environment Minister did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation. Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation, for which construction of new plants is currently underway in Japan, during a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday. “I am afraid I cannot share new development on our coal policy today,” Koizumi said at the ongoing 25th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate


By The Japan News
December 13, 2019

Politics

Aung San Suu Kyi denies genocidal intent on Rohingya

She urges world court to let Myanmar justice system work. Denying that Myanmar had genocidal intent in its treatment of the Rohingya people, its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday (Dec 11) urged the International Court of Justice in The Hague to let her country’s justice system run its course. “Can there be genocidal intent on the part of a state that actively investigates, prosecutes and punishes soldiers and officers who are accused of wrongdoing?” she asked at the world court, while presenting her opening statement on the second day of public hearings related to Gambia’s lawsuit alleging that Myanmar had breached the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Carefully avoiding the word “Rohingya”, Ms Suu Kyi said Gambia has given “an incomplete and misleading factual picture”. She referred in her half-


By The Straits Times
December 12, 2019

Politics

Power transition after Apec summit

Mahathir open to stepping down after APEC summit. Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the world’s oldest prime minister, has promised to hand over power to anointed successor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in spite of new sexual assault allegations against him. Dr Mahathir, 94, said he would not hand over before a summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) countries that Malaysia is to host in November 2020, but could be ready after that. “I made a promise to hand over and I will, accepting that I thought that a change immediately before the Apec summit would be disruptive. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m stepping down and I’m handing the baton to him (Anwar). If people don’t want him, that is their business, but I will do my part of the promise… irrespective of whatever allegation. I made my promise, I keep my promise, ” he said in an interview w


By The Star
December 11, 2019

Politics

Arguments strong enough to convince judges: expert

Myanmar at The Hague for genocide. The arguments presented by the Gambia’s lawyers at the top UN court yesterday were extremely strong and should convince the judges to issue “provisional measures” against Myanmar to stop genocide against the Rohingyas, said a legal expert. If the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issues such an order, Myanmar will be under real pressure as it is a binding one, said the expert. “It was truly convincing the way the lawyers, who are very reputed in their fields, presented their arguments at the top UN court in the Hague,” Ahmed Ziauddin, a genocide researcher based in Brussels, told this correspondent yesterday. “They made it very clear that provisional measures were urgent to protect the Rohingyas, and such measures won’t affect Myanmar as a state.” The ICJ is not a criminal court that can issue an arrest order against any individual. But


By Daily Star
December 11, 2019