Thailand's Junta 'Manipulated' Election, Ousted PM Thaksin Says in NYT Article

Parit “Itim” Wacharasindhu a young Democrat MP candidate greets fans in front of City Hall on Friday

Pheu Thai will have to try and build a pro-democracy coalition, lassoing in Future Forward - a new upstart anti-junta party which has won the hearts of millennials, claimed over 5 million mainly youth votes and 30 lower house constituency seats.

The new constitution also imposes a limit on the number of seats any one party can take, regardless of the number of votes won, and any future government is constitutionally bound to follow the military's 20-year plan for Thailand. But voters deserted the Democrat Party, the country's oldest political party, in its Bangkok and southern strongholds.

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.

After the poll the prime minister will be chosen by 500 elected MPs and 250 senators who are chosen by the...

Thailand has been under direct military rule for almost five years since then-army chief Prayut overthrew an elected government linked to exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who himself was thrown out by the army in 2006.

The Election Commission's secretary-general, Charoongwit Poomma, defended the EC's handling of Sunday's vote and said delays in announcing full results reflect its duty to ensure the election is free and fair.

There is confusion concerning the results of Thailand's first election since a military coup eight years ago.

Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Pcl shares closed up 3 percent and steelmaker STP&I Pcl rose 2.5 percent.

Thailand's main poll-watching organizations have not yet publicly addressed most of the allegations.

About 7 million young, first-time voters were among the 70 percent of the country's 52 million eligible voters who participated in the election.

That means Pheu Thai would need to cobble together 376 votes in the lower house to override the Senate advantage, while the junta only needs 126.

Asked what the opposition's agenda should be, he said: "I don't know, you have to talk to them".

The, as yet, unofficial results showed Pheu Thai leading with 137 seats to 96 seats for junta leader Prayuth's party.

Sunday's poll broadly set parties allied with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha against parties linked to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister and also ex-premier Yingluck.

Thailand's powerful King Maha Vajiralongkorn issued a statement on the eve of the election that said the role of leaders is to stop "bad people" from gaining power and causing chaos.

"As long as we still have breath, we can not give up", he said in a Facebook post on today.

The kingdom remains bitterly divided despite the ruling junta's pledge to rescue it from a decade-long treadmill of political instability, protests and coups.

"Everyone knows in Thailand, everyone global that observed the election in Thailand, knows that (there) is irregularities", he told AFP in an interview in Hong Kong.

A Phalang Pracharat source said negotiations were on with Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul, Chartthai Pattana leader Kanchana Silpa-archa, Suthep Thaugsuban of Action Coalition for Thailand and Suwat Liptapanlop of Chartpattana.

King Vajiralongkorn also weighed in last month after a startling turn of events when a pro-Thaksin party nominated Princess Ubolratana, his sister, as its prime ministerial candidate.

She said the party's legal team was considering whether to submit complaints to the Election Commission.

Meanwhile, the Palang Pracharat party is all but guaranteed the support of the junta-appointed Senate, under new electoral rules the junta drafted.

In its 2pm press conference today (Mar 25), 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.

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