Election Commission secretary-general Jarungwit Phumma, left, along with his deputy Nath Laosisawakul, announces the unofficial results of Sunday’s general election yesterday at the Government Complex in Bangkok’s Chaeng Wattana Road.
Election Commission secretary-general Jarungwit Phumma, left, along with his deputy Nath Laosisawakul, announces the unofficial results of Sunday’s general election yesterday at the Government Complex in Bangkok’s Chaeng Wattana Road.

Spotlight on EC after dubious results

politics March 26, 2019 01:00

By KAS CHANWANPEN
THE NATION

2,979 Viewed

Jarungvith blames ‘human error’ as social media erupts with ridicule.



THE INTEGRITY of the Election Commission (EC) has come into question with people asking if the vote tally has been free and fair.

It is also being roasted for confusing and contradictory results released through its Rapid Report system on Sunday night. 

A vote tally showing the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat beating former coalition leader Pheu Thai raised many eyebrows and triggered queries on issues such as votes that far exceeded the turnout in many constituencies and the unusually high count of spoiled ballots – 2 million. There was also public frustration at the agency’s decision to postpone the announcement of the poll results to Monday, backtracking on its earlier promise to complete 95 per cent of vote counting by Sunday evening. 

The public was also not amused when EC president Ittiporn Boonpracong quipped he could not tell how many voters had turned up because he did not have a “calculator” at his disposal. 

The top hashtags trending on Twitter with over 1.4 million tweets were “EC Busted” and “Election Fraud 2019”. As of 7pm yesterday, about 600,000 people had signed a change.org petition to have the election commissioners removed for failing to hold a free and fair election. 

Meanwhile, the EC put the criticism down to misunderstandings, claiming that there were human errors in the unofficial poll results issued via its Rapid Report system. 

As for areas where the turnout and vote tally did not add up, EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma blamed the discrepancies on officials entering incorrect numbers in the system. He said official reports from all constituencies would be handed over to the EC today and the data made available by Friday, though official results will only be released within May 9. 

EC warns on speculation

As for media speculation over the number of seats won by each party, Jarungvith warned that these figures might not match the reality. He said seat allocations could not be finalised until the EC has cleared all irregularities and complaints, and held by-elections if necessary. 

“The party-list MPs can change all the time until then,” Jarungvith said. As for the ballots from advance voting in New Zealand, which missed Sunday’s counting, Jarungvith said the EC has yet to make a decision on this matter. 

The ballots were delivered to the EC yesterday.