Election results being confirmed by the Election Commission shows an extraordinary level of capability by both the Bhumjaithai Party and Palang Pracharat Party candidates at constituency level to raise their vote levels above their party’s performance in the national party list ballot. This explains the divergence between pre-election national polls and the General Election result itself.
This week, Thailand’s Election Commission confirmed that the Move Forward Party appeared to have lost one of its constituency seats awarded to it in its provisional calculations reducing its overall tally to 151 while the Bhumjaithai Party picked up an extra seat bringing it to 71. The confirmed result also suggests that nearly six per cent of those who voted in the election either spoilt their votes or failed to cast an effective ballot while the election result clearly shows the extraordinary appeal of local candidates for both the Bhumjaithai Party and Palang Pracharat Party in this election with both political groups winning 27% of constituency level seats while only polling a combined 4% in the national party list tally in a separate ballot.
Thailand’s Election Commission has given its latest update on the results of the General Election as it moves towards providing a fully certified result by July 13th next in accordance with the law or within 60 days after the General Election on May 14th.
In the latest development, it confirmed that the Bhumjaithai Party had picked up an extra seat at the expense of the Move Forward Party at constituency level while the Palang Pracharat Party had lost a seat which appears to have gone to the Democrat Party in the party list count.
Further enquiries into the conduct of the 2023 election which had a 75.71% turnout but only 94.12% of votes properly cast by voters across the kingdom
The election agency is now conducting additional enquiries to be able to certify that the election was free and fair as well as giving the final tally for the 500 seats that were up for grabs.
The body revealed that the turnout in the election was a healthy 75.71% but at the same time, it indicated only 94.12% of the ballots counted at constituency level were valid with between 3.69% and 3.82% in the constituency and party list votes being spoiled while the remainder were not authorised ballots.
These figures are higher than expected with the election commission before the poll targeting a maximum level of ineffective ballots at 2%.
Bhumjaithai bagged 17.75% of the constituency seats but its party list support base nationally was only 3%, in line with pre-election polling surveys
Another key characteristic to note about the election result is that, on a nationwide basis, the Bhumjaithai Party has now emerged with 71 seats including 17.75% of the constituency-level seats available while only registering 1.138 million votes nationwide out of 37,522,746 voters in the party list vote or 3% of the vote which is what the pre-election opinion polls were showing.
Before the election, the Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul, in mid-April, said he would resign from politics if his party only polled 3% of the national vote and returned the equivalent of 15 seats in parliament.
This extraordinary result suggests, obviously, that the party fielded strong local candidates with their own voter bases supported by an effective party canvassing system and vote management operation at work in the constituencies targeted by it.
Election results showing strong support for both Pheu Thai and Move Forward at nearly 70% of the pubic also borne out in the party list vote nationally
The figures also show that the Move Forward Party achieved a vote of 38.47% in the party list vote compared to 29.21% for the Pheu Thai Party which again, is quite similar to what nationwide opinion polls before the election had been suggesting.
The results showed the Pheu Thai Party was able to use its support more effectively at the constituency level to obtain 112 constituency seats or a number identical to the Move Forward Party but still short of what it should have achieved relatively with over 29% of the vote or with a proportional representation count system as used in some European countries to decide election results.
Similarly, constituency vote management strengths may also account for the Palang Pracharat Party being able to swing 9.75% of constituency-level seats with a party list vote share of just over 1% of the vote.
In other words, both the Palang Pracharat Party and the Bhumjaithai Party were able to elect 107 constituency MPs in parliament or nearly 27% based on a combined party list vote of just over 4% of the electorate which is quite an extraordinary achievement for both parties and their activists at constituency level.
PM’s party lost at constituency level with only 5.75% of seats against a party list vote of 13%, three times that of Bhumjaithai and Palang Pracharat
The United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party backed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha and which received 23 seats at constituency level or 5.75% of those available while its party list result gave it a superior 13% of the national vote.
The party polled over three times more than Bhumjaithai and Palang Pracharat combined in the national party list poll but the latter parties ended up with over three times as many MPs elected.
These results show that the national contest was essentially a vote between the Move Forward Party on one hand of the political spectrum with national appeal and the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party on the other with both parties not having the constituency level networks required to translate votes into seats.
The results themselves raise questions about how the election was won or lost at the constituency level and the nature of Thai politics in a digital age and a country where a majority of the population still lives on the land and pursues a rural existence.