Citizens all over the kingdom were left hanging last night when the Election Commission (EC), in a sudden and surprising move, decided not to disclose the results of the vote last night, despite having announced that it would for months leading up to election day.
In response, netizens have taken to social media to express their frustrations, along with suspicions of foul play within the behind-the-scenes management of polling and ballot counting processes. Many are also raising questions about the part that bribes and cheating by political parties may be playing in this election.
Their criticism, they say, points to the overall faults of a widely flawed democracy.
Today, Thailand’s top trending hashtags on Twitter include #ElectionCommissionExposed, #ElectionFraud2019, #ECDoentHaveACalculator and #MyCountrysF**kingGot, a reference to Rap Against the Dictatorship’s viral anti-junta rap.
Three hashtags gaining traction in #Thailand in the wake of the #ThailandElection2019 are #โกงเลือกตั้ง, #กกตโป๊ะแตก & #กกตไม่มีเครื่องคิดเลข. All infer that the election was rigged. The latter one cheekily says “The Election Commission doesn’t have a calculator”. pic.twitter.com/zhdiiZEEyY
— Richard Barrow in Thailand (@RichardBarrow) March 25, 2019
Much of the criticism has been targeted towards the EC itself — the independent Thai government agency that holds the sole responsibility of managing the kingdom’s elections and referendums.
An online petition that was started just a few days ago calling for the removal of the current election commission has, since this morning, also skyrocketed in signatures. As of the publication of this article, it has 369,144 backers.
— StressOverflow (@strnue) March 24, 2019
— (@ipyfha) March 25, 2019
Are there any organizations that will be investigating these unusual results from the ECT? What I just saw on Twitter were so astonishing that I thought, did they really dare to deceive the people? really?#ThailandElection2019 #เลือกตั้ง62 #prayforthailand #กกตโป๊ะเเตก #กกตชุ่ย
— Lind (@lindysssp) March 24, 2019
Accusations of foul play have particularly gained prominence after some provinces revealed that more votes had been reported than the number of people eligible to vote. For instance, 214,395 people were officially reported to have voted in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum — however, as Manager reports, there were actually 294,719 voided votes in the same province.
Naturally, netizens are demanding to know where these additional 80,324 votes came from — and in light of these revelations, social media users are responding with memes to express their incredulousness as post-election results continue to roll out.
— บาโฮ๊กกกกมุท (38/300) (@UltimatePhume) March 24, 2019
The same thing reportedly happened in Sukhothai province, where 218% of eligible voters apparently “cast their votes.”
— Schet.P (@Schet_p) March 25, 2019
Did the junta find a way to crown themselves champion?
— หน่องเปรม (@PPrem_space) March 24, 2019
— Son Chayneab (@chayneab) March 24, 2019
The integrity of the election commission is now under intense scrutiny.
— JAmolwan (@JYeAn2) March 25, 2019
The Election Commission of Thailand is a shameless institution. This group of people only exists just to serve its master and has no ethic whatsoever. How are these people going to teach their kids and grandkids about how to be a good citizen? #เลือกตั้ง62 #กกต
— Tae Wanderer (@sagicaprio) March 25, 2019
— ชานมไข่แดง (@gormadikap007) March 24, 2019
Some even compared the condition of living in Thailand’s current political landscape to complacently sipping coffee in a burning room engulfed in flames.
— ugh (@teamteamteammy) March 25, 2019
Much like American netizens after the 2016 US election that saw Donald Trump elected into the presidency, many Thais are now jokingly (we hope) debating a move abroad.
— Taewich Machima (@MachimaTae) March 24, 2019
Regardless, neither official nor unofficial results have been announced, leaving room for some netizens to hope for the best.
— kiwi (@thesamekiwi) March 24, 2019
Talks of organized protests have even started simmering after the junta unexpectedly took the lead last night.
— Pavida Songsrimek (@janeway85) March 24, 2019
There are, of course, netizens who are happy with the junta lead — but their voices are currently being drowned out by the other side of the debate. One plausible explanation for this is that political conversations taking place online are largely propelled by millennials, many of whom form the unpredictable wave of millions of first-time voters this election year.
These first-time voters, having been born between 1994 and 2001, have lived through almost two decades of political tumult, witnessing three major periods of mass demonstrations, two military coups, and the administration of an unelected prime minister who writes pop songs in an attempt to speak to the people.
It appears that the majority of these young voters, however, has had enough of unelected political leaders.
Lowest QC election is here
Lowest EQ prime minister gonna come back here
— bm (@hithereitsbm) March 25, 2019
— น้อนนน (@Alexander_III3) March 25, 2019
— Sher️EEArtS (@Sheree33991211) March 24, 2019
— UnicornWorld (@Unicorn46229707) March 24, 2019
The EC says that it will release unofficial results for the election later today. Meanwhile, official results will be declared by May 9.