EC unveils full count of ballots
PPRP in no hurry to seek coalition
The battle for pole position to form the country's next government between two rival political camps is likely to reach a stalemate after the Election Commission (EC) released unofficial results of a full ballot count yesterday.
Based on the results, the Pheu Thai Party-led alliance has an edge over the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP)-led camp. This means that Pheu Thai and its allies can secure about 253 House seats out of 500, though it will not be easy for the camp to form a government as its bid to choose a prime minister is expected to be blocked by the 250 regime-appointed senators.
The EC released the total number of votes for each party yesterday, earlier than previously expected.
The poll agency previously announced results after 95% of votes were counted and said that the remaining 5% would not be revealed until May 9.
With all of the ballots now counted, the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) has won the popular vote, with 8.4 million compared to 7.9 million for Pheu Thai, with a 74.7% voter turnout.
According to the EC, these figures were from a full vote count which have not yet been endorsed.
The data showed an increase of around 500,000 votes for both the PPRP and Pheu Thai on the 95% count, which stood at 7.9 million and 7.4 million respectively.
The four parties with the most votes are: Palang Pracharath (8.4 million), Pheu Thai (7.9 million), Future Forward (6.2 million), Democrats (3.9 million), and Bhumjaithai (3.7 million).
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, six parties led by Pheu Thai announced their intention to form a coalition. Based on data released yesterday, the coalition will secure 253 MPs in the House.
However, the Pheu Thai-led alliance still needs at least 376 votes out of 750 in parliament for its nominated prime ministerial candidate.
Under the constitution, 250 regime-appointed senators will join 500 MPs in selecting the prime minister. Accordingly, more than half of them need to be won over by the alliance to choose a premier.
It is believed the senators will vote in unison for Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to return as prime minister.
A stalemate looms if the Pheu Thai alliance tries to form a government with a majority but fails to win the prime ministerial vote.
However, if Gen Prayut, who is the PPRP's nominated prime ministerial candidate, wins the parliamentary vote and proceeds to try and form a cabinet, he will have a minority government which will be considerably less stable as the PPRP-led coalition will likely have less seats than the alliance led by Pheu Thai, based on the EC's unofficial results, observers noted.
Speaking after the EC released the latest unofficial results, PPRP secretary-general Sonthirat Sonthijirawong said the party will not rush to form a coalition to rival the Pheu Thai alliance.
The figures showed the PPRP winning the popular vote over Pheu Thai, with Future Forward in third place.
Mr Sonthirat said the number of seats for each is not yet final.
The PPRP was waiting for judgements on complaints registered with the EC, which could change the numbers, he said. However, he was confident that the PPRP would be able to gather enough support from other parties to form a government.
Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, a PM candidate of Pheu Thai, questioned the 4.5-million difference in the number of votes reported by the EC.
"The EC announced at 9.30pm on March 24 that the turnout was 65.9%, or 33,775,230. As of 2.50pm yesterday, the EC said turnout was 74.7% and the number of votes was 38,268,375," she wrote on Facebook.
"In just four days, 4,493,145 ballots were created in the ballot boxes," she added.