Democrats Dispute Future Forward Victory After Recount

Future Forward MP candidate Sawika Limpasuwanna reacts to the result during a recount in Nakhon Pathom province on April 28, 2019.

NAKHON PATHOM — Preliminary results named Future Forward Party as the winner in a poll recount in Nakhon Pathom province, though the Democrats continue to claim victory.

In an “unofficial” report of Sunday’s recount, the Election Commission said Future Forward candidate Sawika Limpasuwanna defeated Democrat Lt. Sinthop Kaeophichit by 62 votes in a race for the MP seat in the province’s no. 1 constituency.

Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, whose complaint of irregularities prompted the recount, said the effort should never have been needed.

“The recount in the no.1 constituency is not a very welcome precedent,” Thanathorn told reporters. “It should have been transparent and proper in the first place. There shouldn’t have been any doubt.”

The Election Commission said Sawika won 35,707 votes against Sinthop’s 35,645 votes. The original count by the poll organizers claimed Sinthop clinched the victory by 147 votes, beating Sawika 35,762 to 35,615.

However, the Democrat Party said its own recount on Sunday still showed Sinthop as the victor by 4 votes. The party vowed to file a legal challenge against the commission’s count.

An official result is slated to be unveiled later this afternoon.

The recount was interrupted by a power shortage as officials were counting and calling out marked ballots. Power was restored about 30 seconds later, though the incident was enough to raise even more suspicion among Future Forward supporters, who have been accusing the Election Commission of biases against their party.

In a related development, transparency activist Srisuwan Janya submitted a petition to the Election Commission on Monday, urging officials to disqualify 11 MP candidates from Future Forward Party.

Srisuwan alleged the 11 politicians hold shares in media companies, which is forbidden by election laws.

Additional reporting Teeranai Charuvastra