70% voter turnout in Thailand’s first sub-district elections in eight years
About 70% of eligible voters went to the polls on Sunday to cast their ballots in Thailand’s first nationwide Tambon (sub-district) Administrative Organization (TAO) elections in eight years, according to Deputy Secretary-General of the Election Commission’s (EC) Office Kittipong Boriboon.
He said the turnout is in line with the EC’s target and the voting at more than 60,000 polling units was orderly, with election violations recorded at less than 1%.
He noted that voter turnout in smaller TAOs was higher than in larger ones, some of which had a turnout of under 50%.
The ballots cast will be examined and, if everything is fine, the results will be announced in 30 days, or within 60 days if irregularities are found, said Kittipong.
Another deputy secretary-general, Pol Cpt Chanin Noilek, said that there were 268 cases of alleged election fraud, most of which involved damage to campaign posters and promises to buy votes, adding that election officials are investigating.
In the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, where election competition was fierce and one TAO mayoral candidate being shot on November 25th, initial vote counts Sunday night at several polling stations in Kuan Chum sub-district show he was ahead of his closest rival by 200 votes.
Meanwhile, in Racha Thewa sub-district of Samut Prakan province, where there are more than 26,000 eligible voters and 5 candidates vying for the mayor’s post, vote counting by midnight on Sunday showed the incumbent, Songchai Nokkamin, leading by over 5,200 votes ahead of his closest rival.
Racha Thewa sub-district, in Bang Phli district, covers an area of 31 square kilometres, including Suvarnabhumi international airport and many factories, earning the TAO a substantial amount of annual revenue.
In Bannang Sata district, in the southern province of Yala, two officials were injured and two cars damaged in an explosion, as a convoy of election officials and police were delivering ballot boxes to the district office.
According to security officials, an explosive device is thought to have been placed in the basket of a motorcycle by insurgents and was detonated as the convoy passed.
Meanwhile, in Tha Kho sub-district of the Muang district in Nakhon Phanom province, a transgender candidate won the seat in an unprecedented development.