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Charges of cheating amid confusion over Thailand’s election result

March 25, 2019 at 12:23pm
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Two major political parties raised doubts on Monday about the accuracy of Thailand’s election results after a party linked to the military took a surprise lead in the popular vote count that suggested the country’s junta chief could remain in power.

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.

“There are irregularities in this election that we’re not comfortable with. These affect the nation’s credibility and people’s trust,” said Sudarat Keyuraphan, candidate for prime minister of the Pheu Thai Party.

“We’ve voiced our concerns before for vote-buying, abuse of power, and cheating. All three have manifested. We will fight back through legal means,” she told a news conference.

She said her party, which is linked to the military’s nemesis, self-exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, would join forces with other anti-junta parties to form a government.

It was far from certain that the military’s proxy party would secure enough seats in the 500-seat lower house of parliament for Prayuth Chan-ocha to stay on as prime minister.

Unofficial results of the Southeast Asian nation’s first election since a 2014 coup had been expected at 2 p.m. (0700 GMT) on Monday. However, the Election Commission said it would announce only the winners of 350 seats at 4 p.m. (0900 GMT) and a breakdown of votes for those seats would come on Friday.

“We have nothing to hide,” the commission’s deputy secretary-general, Nat Laosisawakul, told a news conference.