Bangkok election smooth so far, results expected by 9pm

Bangkok election smooth so far, results expected by 9pm

A woman casts her vote for Bangkok governor and a councillor at a voting station in Soi Pradipath 5 in Phaya Thai district on Sunday. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
A woman casts her vote for Bangkok governor and a councillor at a voting station in Soi Pradipath 5 in Phaya Thai district on Sunday. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

People in Bangkok flocked to polling stations across the capital on Sunday to vote for their governor for the first time in nine years, with unofficial results expected by 9pm.

Voters continue to go to polling booths in 50 districts in Bangkok, with many in Bang Khun Thien district braving the morning's heavy rain to cast ballots for the Bangkok governor and 50 Bangkok councillors.

The focus is on the 31 candidates vying for the top job at City Hall.

At 5pm, vote counting will start at all 6,817 polling units, and the results and ballot boxes will then be sent to district offices. Each district will then combine the results sent from the stations in its jurisdiction before sending them to the head office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) in Din Daeng.

The BMA said it expected the unofficial results of the election for both governor and councillors would be completed around 9pm.

It projected a 70% turnout of some 4 million people eligible to vote, and said it had deployed about 167,000 people to ensure the election ran smoothly.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, cabinet ministers, other politicians and the gubernatorial candidates themselves cast their votes at polling stations on Sunday morning and urged all those eligible to exercise their right to vote. 

As voting passed the half-way mark at noon, only some minor offences had been reported, said Pol Lt Gen Sarawut Karnpanich, an assistant to the national police chief in charge of security for the election.

One voter was sent from a polling booth to Phra Khanong police station and fined for tearing up ballot papers after officials at the station refused to give the voter new sheets. The voter claimed he or she marked the wrong candidate on the sheet, Pol Lt Gen Sarawut said without specifying whether the voter was male or female.

Another voter was fined at Tha Rua police station for offending officials after he demanded to leave the booth to check the list of candidates' numbers.

"Overall there were no major problems," Pol Lt Gen Sarawut said. "Rain did not pose problems as authorities had prepared water pumps to handle it," he said.

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