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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Series of errors hound EC


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Election agency announces results but quickly takes documents off its website after discrepancies in numbers revealed.

IN A BID to ease mounting pressure from politicians and the public, the Election Commission (EC) yesterday released the unofficial election results, revealing the votes each party had gained, but continued to come under criticism over discrepancies in the figures.

The agency had previously planned to release the results today, saying it would wait for reports from each constituency and work on the data before making it public. But following heavy criticism of lack of transparency, the EC decided to reveal the results yesterday at a hastily called press conference.

The figures showed that the pro-junta party Phalang Pracharat had won the popular vote with more than 8.4 million while Pheu Thai came second with 7.9 million votes.

Future Forward was third with 6.2 million votes, beating the Democrats who got just 3.9 million.

Bhumjaithai was fifth with 3.7 million votes.

The voter turnout was at 74.7 per cent with 38.2 million of the more than 51 million eligible voters taking part in the election, the EC said.

While the EC may have thought the early announcement would ward off pressure, criticism and the threat of impeachment, public anger continued unabated along with questions of the poll agency’s credibility as the numbers did not add up.

The high voter turnout, for instance, was widely questioned.

The EC had declared on Sunday after 90 per cent of votes had been counted that 65.96 per cent of the eligible voters had exercised their voting rights. The figure yesterday shot up by over 8 per cent to 74.69, raising the question of how the figure could rise this high after just 10 per cent more votes were tallied.

Several other figures shown in the documents provided by the EC were also inconsistent.

The number of eligible voters, which should have been a clear figure even before Sunday’s election, was found to have increased by over 34,000. On Sunday, the EC had said 51,205,624 people were eligible to vote while the figure provided yesterday was 51,239,638.

The media yesterday bombarded the EC with these questions in an online chat room but got no response.

Alerted to the discrepancies, the agency quickly removed all the documents related to yesterday’s announcement from its official website.

Politicians from Future Forward and other parties joined the public in calling on the EC to be transparent and reveal voter turnout and polling numbers from every polling station.

De facto leader of Pheu Thai Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan yesterday also raised doubts on Facebook, questioning the increase in voter numbers.

“After the polling booths were closed, the EC announced that 33,775,230 million people had turned out. Today, they announced the number to be 38,268,375 million,” she wrote. “In four days, 4,493,145 new ballots have emerged.”

Previously, the EC had cited human error for the discrepancies shown in the Rapid Report system and promised the agency would recheck the data before releasing the official election results.

The agency had stressed the current MP seat calculation were merely media speculation. The numbers were subject to change especially if by-elections were called in troubled constituencies.

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