Early tallies from Thailand’s first election in eight years Sunday showed inconclusive results as parties vie for a majority of seats in the country’s Parliament.
With more than 90 percent of the overall votes counted, Thailand’s Election Commission reported that pro-military party Palang Pracharath, linked to Prime Minister Prayuth chan-Ocha, led with 7.59 million votes, the populist Pheu Thai trailed closely behind with 7.12 million votes and the new Future Forward Party was in third place in the popular vote.
The Election Commission didn’t disclose the number of constituency seats won by each party. State broadcaster MCOT used preliminary tallies to project that the Pheu Thai Party won 124 seats, the Palang Pracharath Party won 95 seats and the Bhumjaithai Party won 39 seats.
Former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva stepped down as leader of the Democrat Party on Sunday after it was projected that it won 33 seats.
Another 150 seats in Thailand’s Lower House will the share of votes won by each party, according to election rules.
The 750-seat Parliament, made up of elected lawmakers and 250 unelected senators appointed by the junta, decide who becomes the country’s prime minister.
The rules favor Prayuth, who leads the junta, staying in power, as parties supporting him require 126 seats in the Lower House to obtain the minimum 376 seats needed to control Parliament.
The country’s young people backed the Future Forward Party, led by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit — a 40-year old progressive, athletic billionaire, seeking to end military rule — as the hashtag #OldEnoughtoVoteOurselves trended on social media Sunday.
About 7 million young, first-time voters were among the 70 percent of the country’s 52 million eligible voters who participated in the election.
The Election Commission is expected to release official results within 60 days, as parties will likely scramble to form coalitions to gain a parliamentary majority.
Image: Early results from Thailand’s elections on Sunday didn’t provide clear results of which party would hold a majority of seats in the country’s parliament.