#BallotsRebornInBox: Thai Election Commission announces unofficial results, netizens outraged by suspect numbers

Photo: Twitter/ @Taewptpt
Photo: Twitter/ @Taewptpt

The 2019 election drama continues.

Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) announced that the military-backed Phalang Pracharat party won the popular vote in Sunday’s long-anticipated general elections while revealing the full unofficial results during a press conference yesterday. And some politicians and netizens are already questioning what they perceive to be suspicious numbers in those results.

A total of 35,532,647 votes were cast this year, said EC deputy secretary-general Krit Urwongse, or about 75 percent of the total 51,239,638 eligible voters in the kingdom.

In first place was the Phalang Pracharat party, led by junta chief and prime ministerial candidate Prayut Chan-O-Cha, with 8.4 votes. They were followed by the Thaksin-aligned Pheu Thai party, which won the most House of Representative seats with 7.9 million votes.

In a surprising turn of events, the newcomer Future Forward party — led by auto-parts kingpin and novice politico Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit — swooped into third place with 6.3 million votes. As a party aimed squarely at millennial voters, this is perhaps a testament to the  particularly large number of first-time voters caused by the long gap between elections (you know, the kingdom having been under military rule since 2014 and all that).

These first-time voters, having been born between 1994 and 2001, have lived through almost two decades of political tumult, witnessed three major periods of mass demonstrations, two military coups and the administration of an unelected prime minister who writes pop songs.

Related Story: “Meme-ification” of politics fueled by fed-up first-time voters who grew up amid conflict

The Democrat party came fourth with 3.9 million votes, something many consider somewhat of an embarrassment since they are the oldest political party in Thailand. So much so, in fact,  that former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned from his position as the party leader on the eve of the election after the EC released 91 percent of the votes counted.

“I must take responsibility for this. I resign from my leadership of the Democrat Party,” said Abhisit.

The last party we will mention is Bhumjaithai, aka. the political party weed leaf-studded campaign posters all over the country, which came in fifth place  

Related Story: Over half of Thai men agree with Bhumjaithai party’s campaign to fully legalize marijuana: poll

Though the junta-aligned party’s win doesn’t come as a surprise as they had taken the lead in the unofficial partial count that was previously released, outrage still swept across social media in the wake of this announcement.

Frustration was also expressed on Facebook yesterday by Pheu Thai party leader and PM candidate Sudarat Keyuraphan, who was quick to point out that the math didn’t make sense.

“At 9:30pm on Sunday March 24, the EC announced that 65.96 percent of people came to vote or 33,775,230 people… 2:50pm March 28, the EC suddenly said 74.69 percent or 38,268,375 people voted.”

Like many other netizens, Sudarat couldn’t quite wrap her head around the fact that an additional 4.5 million votes that had not been included in the previous partial count could suddenly show up after a mere four days.

Today #BallotsRebornInBox became one of the top trending hashtags from Thailand. It refers to the idea that the number of ballots increased so much it’s like they were having babies in the ballot box.

Many other netizens even took it upon themselves to do the math

The election commission has not yet directly addressed the concerns about the increased vote total but emphasized that the previous results were based on only partial data that could prove inaccurate.

Many Thai citizens have expressed their concerns about a number of irregularities in the election and suspicions of foul play, with some even demanding that election commission be ousted.

Related Stories:

#ElectionCommissionExposed: Suspicions of election foul play trending across Thai social media, petition to remove EC goes viral

Junta party takes lead in long-awaited Thai election, full results delayed amid reports of voided ballots in the millions

Exit Poll indicates Thaksin-linked Pheu Thai Party to win most seats in Thai election

Election 2019 unofficial results: Pheu Thai leads in seats, but overall winner anybody’s guess


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