05:22 GMT +326 April 2019
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    Supporters of Pheu Thai Party react after unofficial results, during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019

    Pro-Military Party Takes Lead in Thai Election, Official Result Delayed

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    With over 90 percent of the Sunday vote counted, Bangkok’s pro-military Palang Pracharat party has surprised analysts with a strong lead over the Pheu Thai democratic opposition party in Thailand’s general election.

    Although political analysts for the region had predicted a virtual tie accompanied by a runoff, preliminary results reveal that former general Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's party will easily beat the Pheu Thai ‘democratic front,' according to reports.

    The Palang Pracharat pro-military party received an estimated 7.5 million votes — an amount that is currently just shy of an absolute majority — against some 7 million votes for the main opposition party, Pheu Thai.

    According to local reports, about 80 percent of the southeast Asia nation's 51.4 million electorate took part in the vote, the first political referendum in Thailand since the military seized control of the country's government in a 2014 coup.

    Even before any official announcement of the results, there have been charges of voting irregularities, as the secretary general of the Pheu Thai party, Phumtham Wechayachai, noted.

    "It will be clearer once the official result is announced," Wechayachai said, cited by Deutsche Welle.

    The results of Sunday's general election will now be announced on Monday at 10 a.m. (0300 GMT). No explanation has been provided for the delay, originally scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) Sunday.

    The weekend elections saw a last-minute Saturday admonition from the nation's king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, who warned that voters must follow "good" leaders as a means of preventing "chaos."

    Following the cryptic message from the king, Thai social media trended late Saturday with "I am old enough to choose myself", according to Dw.com.

    As Thai voters select their next government in the wake of almost five years of direct military rule, critics have slammed the voting system, with accusations of rigging results to favor pro-military political groups.

    Over 7 million new voters have been added to the electorate since the last elections in 2011.

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    Tags:
    junta, elections, coup, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, Prayuth Chan-ocha, Bangkok, Thailand
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