Thai Election Commission accepts failure in yesterday’s polls

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BANGKOK, Feb 3 – An Election Commission (EC) member today admitted an unsuccessful general election given the failure to conduct balloting in all constituencies nationwide.

Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, EC commissioner for election administration, said he would accept responsibility in the EC meeting today and would propose transferring himself to another position in the agency.

It is not to avoid responsibility (for holding the elections), he stressed.

The Election Commission however resolved unanimously that Mr Somchai should carry on his duties in poll administration, reasoning that the EC member has so far performed his tasks in an appropriate manner.

EC members are scheduled to meet with caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, in his capacity as director of the Centre for Maintaining of Peace and Order (CMPO), to review yesterday’s election results.

He said, however, that the EC and CMPO work separately and each has its own authority.

The EC also reported the voter turnout in yesterday’s election was 20,468,646, or 45.84 per cent of all eligible voters of 44,649,742 in all 68 provinces excluding nine provinces where elections were called off. The highest turnout was recorded in the northern province of Lamphun at 271,566 out of 331,343 eligible voters or 72.8 per cent. The central province of Samut Sakhon registered the lowest turnout at 77,172 out of 385,863 eligible voters or 20 per cent.

According to the EC, elections were smooth in 83,669 polling stations in 308 constituencies but balloting was called off in 10,283 stations in 18 constituencies.

Successful balloting represented 89.2 per cent of the total polling stations.

Nine southern provinces where elections were completely shut off included Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani, Phang-nga, Krabi, Phuket, Phattalung, Songkhla and Trang.

Nine provinces with partial balloting disruptions were Phetchburi, Rayong, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Satun, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Bangkok.

In Bangkok, 6,155 of the total 6,671 polling stations operated while 516 others were sealed off.

Voter turnout in the capital was 26.8 per cent, a sharp drop from the 2011 general election which saw a 71.8 per cent turnout.

Voter turnout in the North was 54.03 percent and the Northeast 56.14 per cent.