Thaksin: Election 'rigged' as allies challenge army

Thaksin: Election 'rigged' as allies challenge army

An election official counts a ballot at a polling station in Lam Luk Ka district in Pathum Thani on Sunday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
An election official counts a ballot at a polling station in Lam Luk Ka district in Pathum Thani on Sunday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra called Sunday’s election “rigged” and warned the junta would seek to retain power no matter which coalition emerges.

Reeling off a litany of election irregularities, Thaksin said the military regime “clearly is afraid” and its proxy party Palang Pracharath (PPRP) would lead a “very unstable government” if it doesn’t have a majority in the lower house of parliament. Earlier, allies in Thaksin’s Pheu Thai Party claimed victory and said it would seek to form a government.

“Whether or not the junta’s leaders now allow the pro-democracy parties to form a government, they will find a way to stay in charge,” Thaksin wrote in an op-ed published in the New York Times. “They have no shame, and they want to be in power no matter what.”

The comments indicate a showdown is emerging to form a government between Pheu Thai and PPRP.

Pheu Thai led with 137 of 350 constituency seats in an initial tally, followed by PPRP with 97 seats, according to the Election Commission. The count, which didn’t include another 150 party-list seats, showed that both major parties would need to form a coalition to take power in the 500-member lower house of parliament.

“We’ll try to form a government coalition right away because that’s how people voted,” Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, Pheu Thai’s candidate for prime minister, told reporters on Monday, adding that the army-appointed Senate should follow the wishes of voters. “We stood by our position that we won’t support the continuation of the military regime.”

PPRP has also said it would seek to form a government. It won 7.93 million votes with 94% counted with Pheu Thai second at 7.42 million votes, according to unofficial results posted on the EC.

The EC announced the winners of 350 constituencies at 4 pm, after several delays in giving seat totals. It said that initial vote counts were accurate even though its computers were attacked. Official results won’t be known until May 9.

Investors initially appeared sanguine about the election results, with the  SET Index falling less than other Asian benchmarks amid a global sell-off triggered by economic growth concerns. The measure extended declines as trading resumed after the lunch break.


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