Special Report: EC tasked with staging new elections following poll disruptions

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The Election Commission has announced that new elections will have be held due to disruptions to the February 2 general election and the advance voting on January 26. 

The regulatory body has made known that advance voting has now been postponed until February 23. A protest member was shot dead on the day of the advance voting as anti-government demonstrators tried to seize polling stations in Bangkok and parts of the South. Protesters managed to shut down over 80 polling stations across the country.

89.2 percent of the polling stations nationwide were able to conduct polling on February 2. Out of 44.6 million eligible voters, nearly 20.5 million or 45.8 percent turned out to cast votes.

The province with the highest voter turnout was Chiang Mai province with 75.05%. Nakhon Si Thammarat registered the lowest turnout with 0.11 percent. The nine provinces where voting was cancelled are Krabi, Chumphon, Trang, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phuket, Ranong, Songkhla and Surat Thani.

In Bangkok, voter turnout was registered at 26 percent. 35 districts out of 50 did not experience any disruptions.

The Election Commission has been holding meetings to resolve issues arising from lack of candidates in 28 constituencies in the South and at polling units where voting was cancelled.

The Pheu Thai Party has earlier announced that it is expected to win at least 300 MP seats, 240 for constituency list and 60 for the party-list.

The House of Representatives consists of 500 members, 375 of whom are elected from the election on the constituency basis and 125 from party list. The Lower House will need at least 475 MPs to convene in the next session.

The task falls to the Election Commission to devise a solution to the long-drawn political crisis after anti-government protesters succeeded in preventing the election from having enough representatives required to form a new government.

Senior election commissioner Somchai Sisutthiyakorn previously stated that elections for problem areas could not be held until the ongoing anti-government protests ended. For the elections to succeed, both sides in the political turmoil must compromise, and as long as conflict continues the election will never succeed, he said.