February 3, 2014 3:13:00 pm
Anti-government protesters in Thailand on Monday said they will seek a Constitution Court ruling to invalidate the snap polls and vowed to ao ahead with street rallies aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Main opposition Democrat Party’s deputy leader Ong art Klampaiboon said they were collecting evidence to seek the Constitution Court ruling to invalidate the polls and would lodge a petition to the court soon through various channels.
Thailand voted on Sunday under heavy security in violence-plagued snap election boycotted by the opposition.
Despite anti-government protesters blocking voting at several places, officials said the exercise was relatively peaceful and 89.2 per cent of polling stations operated normally. Election Commission chairman Supachai Phucharoen said voting was reported from 83,813 of 93,532 stations.
Despite the Yingluck government’s claim of “victory” after the voting, the polls could end up being declared void because of factors like boycott and protests.
Election Commission members will meet today to discuss ways to solve the election-related problems.
An estimated 12 million people, or 25 per cent of all 48.7 million eligible voters, failed to cast ballots – two million during advance voting on January 26 and another 10 million yesterday, according to an EC official.
However, an official later said between 8 and 10 million eligible voters have been unable to cast their votes in more than 10,000 polling stations where voting was disrupted.
Hundreds of anti-government protesters today besieged the office of General Niphat Thonglek, a senior defence ministry official, demanding that he should not allow caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck to use the building as her temporary office.
A low voter turnout was reported in many provinces, even in part of the North and Northeast where the ruling Pheu Thai Party enjoys support.
In southern provinces, the stronghold of the opposition, voter turnout was estimated at 20 to 30 per cent, much lower than previous elections.
There were reports of a high number of “no votes” in many provinces, as eligible voters ticked the box at the bottom of the ballot paper to vote for “none of the above”.
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck thanked voters for “helping to maintain democracy”.
Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said that it was the “first time to have so many eligible voters boycotting an election”.
Protesters have been holding rallies across Bangkok and have blocked major intersections for the past three months calling for Yingluck’s government to quit, an unelected people’s Council to be formed and the polls to be scrapped.
The protesters accuse Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a coup in 2006. He lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai to escape a jail term on a corruption conviction.
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