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Thailand Election 2019: Unofficial poll results delayed!

Bangkok Post: In its 2pm press conference on Monday, the Election Commission (EC) announced that although more than 90% of the votes in Sunday’s general election had been counted, the wait would continue for the complete interim results.

Secretary-general Ittiporn Boonprakong said the EC would announce the unofficial results of 350 constituency seats later on Monday, but unofficial full vote counts — which are needed to determine the allocation of 150 other seats in parliament — would not be available until Friday. He reiterated that official results from at least 95% of House seats would not be finalised until May 9.

The Pheu Thai party, which was ousted from government in the coup, said it won the most constituency seats in Sunday’s election and will try to form a government with similar-minded parties. But the unofficial results released thus far show the military-backed Palang Pracharat party won the popular vote.

On Sunday night, the EC delayed without explanation a full announcement of preliminary results as a blizzard of complaints mounted over apparent mistakes in the count and possible irregularities at the polls.

Nearly 1.9 million votes had been invalidated with 93% of votes tallied, the EC said late Sunday. Earlier counts showed that in a handful of provinces more than half the ballots cast were invalidated.

Sunday’s election — seen as a referendum on the military — was held under new rules written by the junta to ease its transformation into a civilian government.

Despite that headstart, analysts had not expected the army-linked Palang Pracharat party to win the popular vote, given anger at junta rule and the enduring popularity of Pheu Thai — the party of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

But as initial figures dribbled out, Palang Pracharat — with 2014 coup leader Prayut Chan-o-Cha as its candidate for prime minister — edged into a clear lead, racking up more than 7.6 million votes with more than 90% of ballots tallied.

“This will give them… popular legitimacy and more credibility,” Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, told AFP.

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