Election Results to be Declared Within Hours of Polls Closing

Prayuth Chan-ocha, who served as army chief at the time, casts his ballots in the Feb. 2, 2014, election in Bangkok.

BANGKOK — Election organizers said Tuesday the public will know which political parties are positioned to lead Thailand’s post-coup government no longer than five hours after polls close Feb. 24.

Election Commissioner Nath Laoseesawakool told reporters the votes will be counted immediately after polling stations close at 5pm, with unofficial results announced by 10pm at the latest.

“If one can manage the calculation, it will be known immediately who the next prime minister would be,” Nath said, referring to the new math behind rules requiring political parties to declare in advance who they will support becoming prime minister.

Nath spoke on the same day regulations governing the election came into effect, and – perhaps more crucially – the junta lifted its ban on political gatherings, allowing contending parties to campaign freely.

The commissioner also revealed other milestones for the upcoming election: Those wishing to run as MPs must register between Jan. 14 and Jan. 18; and advanced voting will take place some time between Jan. 10 and Jan. 24.