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Thailand’s pro-Thaksin party takes lead in initial tally

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Thailand's Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, who was named leader of Palang Pracharath Party, speaks at a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 29, 2018. Xinhua/Yang Zhou

BANGKOK (Xinhua) – Pro-military party Palang Pracharath won 97 constituency MP seats while the main pro-Thaksin party Pheu Thai got 137 constituency MP seats in Thailand’s first general election since 2014 coup, according to the Election Commission’s unofficial results yesterday.

The EC unveiled a 95-percent poll results after the second delay within 24 hours.

According to the initial results, nine parties have entered the lower house. The anti-military party Future Forward won 30 constituency MP seats and the Democrat Party got 33.

The EC neither announced the number of party-list MP seats nor the whole votes each party got. It said official results will be unveiled no later than May 9.

The EC said the delay is due to the complex computation between constituency-based MPs and that of party-list MPs.

Early yesterday, anti-military parties claimed that there had been irregularities in Sunday’s election after partial results showed that the pro-military party was leading.

A voter breakdown of those constituency contests would not be available until Friday.

“Today we will only see the names of the winners in 350 constituencies,” Jarungwit Pumma, secretary-general of the EC, told a news conference. “Numbers are still moving. We can’t publish them now. Please wait a couple of days.”

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, meanwhile, decided to resign on Sunday after his party failed to meet its target in the general election.

Mr Abhisit, who is also a former prime minister, announced his resignation after the election concluded on Sunday. He pledged to continue to dedicate himself to political work and thanked his supporters.

Exit polls and partial results on Sunday indicated that the Democrat Party would win 88 seats.

He had said earlier that he would resign if the party won fewer than 100 seats in the vote.

In the election, voters voted 350 members in the lower house.

The new constitution allows parliament’s upper house, the 250-seat Senate, to vote with the 500-seat lower house to choose the prime minister. The Senate is entirely appointed by the ruling military government.

Assuming the senate backs the same candidate, pro-military parties would need 126 seats in the lower House of Representatives to win a majority in a combined vote. Opposition parties need 376 seats.

The Pheu Thai party, which was ousted from government in 2014 coup, won the most constituency seats in Sunday’s election and said it will try to form a government with similar-minded parties.

Meanwhile the military proxy party Palang Pracharat has also announced that the party has talked to other parties and is ready to take the lead in forming a coalition government.

More than 33 million voters out of the 51 million eligible cast their ballots in the election. The turnout is about 66 percent, while the EC expected more than 80 percent of the voters would join the poll.

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