Further updated: Counting begun

24 03 2019

Counting in the junta’s election has begun after the polls closed at 5 pm Thailand time.

There have been widespread reports of polling official failures, vote buying, and a plethora of other problems and cheating. Many of these events, while widespread, have not all looked like massive and organized cheating. The only arena where there appears to have been organized cheating is in numerous reports of vote buying, especially from the northeast.

That said, Khaosod reports that there are sufficient reports of irregularities for the “[v]ice president of P-Net, the People’s Election Network, Laddawan Tantivitayapitak … expressed concern about the Election Commission’s efficiency…”. She said: “I’m still reluctant to say I’m confident this [election] will be in order…”. With counting yet to come, there are more opportunities for irregularities and cheating.

Khaosod stated that:

perhaps the most serious, a video news report suggested improper vote manipulation by the army. In a Thairath TV reporter’s clip, a military officer is seen inside the polling area watching each of his subordinate vote in Bangkok’s Phaya Thai district.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reported some efforts to prevent votes for Future Forward. The Nation reported voter fraud.

It remains to be seen how interested the EC will be in fraud against anti-junta parties and how hard they will go after them for alleged offenses. The latter is a way to change results.

Update 1: At just after 8 pm Thailand time, the results of about 44% of vote counted show Puea Thai and Palang Pracharath more or less neck in percentage terms, with the former ahead in terms of constituency seats won. Results vary at Khaosod, Bangkok Post and Vote62, but the biggest movers seem to be Future Forward, which has done reasonably well, Bhum Jai Thai, which has done a lot better than expected, and the Democrat Party, which has done very badly. Overall, for the constituencies, five parties have taken most seats on current count.

The result seems to be that if Palang Pracharath gets together with Bhum Jai Thai, it has sufficient seats to combine with the appointed senate and hoist Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha back into the PM’s seat. But the outcome also promises considerable instability.

Update 2: PPT just saw the EC’s unofficial results from just after 8 pm, which makes a stab at constituency and party list: Puea Thai (153), Palang Pracharath (139), Future Forward (78), Bhum Jai Thai (63), Democrat Party (35), and then others.

That’s about what might have been expected from the rigging. As noted, Future Forward and Bhum Jai Thai did better than many expected and the Democrat Party has crashed.


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