Elections in 5 provinces show 10% voter turnout

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SAMUT SAKHON, March 3 – Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) reported a 10 per cent voter turnout for elections in 106 polling stations in five provinces yesterday.

Suthep Promwas, EC deputy secretary general, said 9,835 out of 96,429 eligible voters cast their ballots, representing 10.20 per cent in the five provinces of Petchburi, Rayong, Petchbun, Samut Songkram and Samut Sakhon.

The new elections in Petchburi and Rayong were to replace the unsuccessful general election on Feb 2 while new elections in Petchbun, Samut Songkran and Samut Sakhon were required after the Jan 26 advance elections were disrupted.

Election commission Somchai Srisuthiyakorn blamed the low voter turnout on political impasse, inadequate publicity and people’s lack of awareness about the new elections.

He said yesterday’s elections were held smoothly without disruption thanks to cooperation from administration officials, military personnel and police.

The EC has yet to hold new elections in 28 constituencies in Thailand’s eight southern provinces, pending the Constitution Court’s ruling on whether a royal decree would be required to call for the new elections.

The caretaker government refused to issue a royal decree for the purpose, compelling the EC to seek the Constitution Court’s judgement.

Meanwhile, a royal decree will take effect after an official announcement in the Royal Gazette, setting March 30 for the Senate election. Candidates are required to apply beginning tomorrow  through Saturday (March 4-8).