EU, UK Urge Thailand to Resolve ‘Election Irregularities’

A woman votes in Bangkok on March 24, 2019.

BANGKOK — The United Kingdom and the European Union on Tuesday called on Thai authorities to look into reports of irregularities related to the March 24 general election.

Their call came as the Election Commission was under fire for widespread errors and outright voting violations during Sunday’s polls. In statements posted online, the UK and EU said those allegations should be resolved swiftly.

“It is important that any reported irregularities are investigated swiftly, fairly and transparently, to ensure credibility and provide a clear result as soon as possible,” Mark Field, the UK’s Asia and the Pacific state minister, said in a statement.

“We look forward to the announcement of the election results as soon as possible. It is also important that any reported irregularities are resolved swiftly and transparently,” EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said.

The US Embassy in Thailand also released a Monday statement hoping to see the election results in the near future.

“Yesterday, the U.S. Mission witnessed tens of millions of Thailand’s citizens go to the polls to exercise their right to vote,” Charge d’Affaires Peter Haymond said. “We look forward, with the Thai people, to the Election Commission’s announcement of results as soon as possible.”

Reports of discrepancies spread on social media even before polls closed Sunday. Netizens shared tales of officials handing out ballots for wrong constituencies, staff calling out ballots for wrong parties and even a soldier taking a peek at how his fellow troopers were voting.

Those watching live feeds of the Election Commission’s vote-counting process were also baffled by the number of ballots that exceeded voters in some areas.

An online petition calling on the Election Commissioners to resign had attracted at least 727,500 signatures by publication time. When a reporter asked the commissioners yesterday whether they would resign, one of them answered by clapping back.