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

Photo: Twitter/ Ultimate Phume and Pprem Space
Photo: Twitter/ Ultimate Phume and Pprem Space

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.

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.

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.

The same thing reportedly happened in Sukhothai province, where 218% of eligible voters apparently “cast their votes.”

Did the junta find a way to crown themselves champion?

The integrity of the election commission is now under intense scrutiny.

Some even compared the condition of living in Thailand’s current political landscape to complacently sipping coffee in a burning room engulfed in flames.

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.

Regardless, neither official nor unofficial results have been announced, leaving room for some netizens to hope for the best.

Talks of organized protests have even started simmering after the junta unexpectedly took the lead last night.

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.

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

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.

The EC says that it will release unofficial results for the election later today. Meanwhile, official results will be declared by May 9.

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