NAKHON PATHOM — Future Forward Party on Monday called for a poll to be re-organized entirely in a constituency where a rival party is disputing its narrow victory.
The call came after the Election Commission admitted “errors” had occurred during Sunday’s confusing recount of ballots in Nakhon Pathom’s no.1 constiuency, when officials announced Future Forward as the winner over the Democrat Party by 62 votes.
“There is reliable evidence suggesting that the election in Constituency 1 of Nakhon Pathom province was neither free nor fair,” a statement issued by Future Forward Party read.
The statement also noted that the Election Commission has reported different results for the constituency five times, and that a brief blackout took place during the recount on April 28.
The recount initially found that Future Forward Party candidate Sawika Limpasuwanna secured a very thin majority over Democrat Sinthop Kaeophichit. However the commission made a U-turn today and said a formal result could not yet to be announced – citing unspecified human errors.
“I have to admit that there were errors in the counting process, both on March 24 [election day] and during the recount,” Commissioner Sawaeng Boonmee told reporters. “It has damaged our organisation’s credibility.”
He added, “Let me say that those errors were caused by personnel.”
Yesterday’s recount was thrown in doubt when the Democrat Party said its own count showed Sinthop defeated Sawika by four votes.
The controversy is the latest to dog the Election Commission, which has come under heavy criticism from anti-junta politicians for its failure to confirm official election results even though a month has passed since the poll.
Responding to the criticism, Sawaeng said officials can only release formal results after all legal challenges and fraud allegations are resolved.
“The Election Commission can only release the results of the MP elections when preliminary investigations confirm that they were transparent and fair,” he said.
Additional reporting Teeranai Charuvastra