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.