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Politics

Rivals voice suspicions as Thailand's pro-army party leads election race

Updated : March 25, 2019 01:05 PM IST

Two major political parties raised doubts on Monday about the results of Thailand's general election after a party linked to the military took a surprise lead in the popular vote that suggested the country's junta chief will remain in power.

It was still not certain that the military's proxy party would secure enough seats in the lower house of parliament for Prayuth Chan-ocha to stay on as prime minister.

Unofficial results of Thailand's first election since a 2014 coup will be announced at 2 p.m. local time (0700 GMT) on Monday.

With around 94 percent of overall votes counted it was clear that Pheu Thai, a party linked to the self-exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra whose loyalists have won every election since 2001, had fallen far short of expectations. However, it still looked likely to have the largest share of parliament seats.

The strong showing by the pro-junta Palang Pracharat stunned voters who had hoped the poll would loosen the grip that traditional elites and the military hold on power in a country that has one of the highest measures of inequality in the world.

Many took to social media to voice their suspicions about the results of an election that critics had said was systematically skewed in favour of the military from the outset.

Thai-language hashtags that translated as "Election Commission screw-up" and "cheating the election" were trending at numbers one and three on Twitter in Thailand.

Many tweets referred to inconsistencies between the numbers for voter turnout and ballots cast in some parliamentary constituencies. Some questioned the overall turnout of less than 70 percent, which was much lower than expected.

Uttama Savanayana, Palang Pracharat Party leader, holds a news conference during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Uttama Savanayana, Palang Pracharat Party leader, holds a news conference during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives at the Government House a day after the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives at the Government House a day after the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Uttama Savanayana, Palang Pracharat Party leader, arrives for a news conference during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Uttama Savanayana, Palang Pracharat Party leader, arrives for a news conference during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Uttama Savanayana, Palang Pracharat Party leader, holds a news conference during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Uttama Savanayana, Palang Pracharat Party leader, holds a news conference during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Members of Pheu Thai Party hold a news conference after unofficial results, during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Members of Pheu Thai Party hold a news conference after unofficial results, during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Live results are reflected in glasses of a supporter of Pheu Thai Party during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Live results are reflected in glasses of a supporter of Pheu Thai Party during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Supporters of Pheu Thai Party react after unofficial results, during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Supporters of Pheu Thai Party react after unofficial results, during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Reporters wait for the general election results in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Reporters wait for the general election results in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Ballots are counted during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Ballots are counted during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
An electoral member shows a ballot during the vote counting, during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
An electoral member shows a ballot during the vote counting, during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
An ethnic Kayan woman, also known as a long neck villager casts her vote for the general election in Mae Hong Son, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
An ethnic Kayan woman, also known as a long neck villager casts her vote for the general election in Mae Hong Son, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Election worker looks on at a polling station ahead of the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Election worker looks on at a polling station ahead of the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks to media after voting in the general election at a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks to media after voting in the general election at a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
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