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Thailand’s junta-linked party in the lead after nearly all ballots counted

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The Phalang Pracharat party, which wants junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha to return as premier, gained more than 7.3 million votes with 91 per cent of votes tallied, according to the EC – nearly half a million more than Pheu Thai.

[BANGKOK] Thailand’s junta-linked party took a shock lead in the popular vote with nearly all ballots counted, the Election Commission said late Sunday, edging ahead of its pro-democracy rivals in the first election since a 2014 coup.

The Phalang Pracharat party, which wants junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha to return as premier, gained more than 7.3 million votes with 91 per cent of votes tallied, according to the EC – nearly half a million more than Pheu Thai.

The upstart Future Forward party, a fierce critic of the military government, is surging with 4.31 million votes.

The Democrat Party won with a little more that 3 million votes and its leader former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has resigned.

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The Election Commission chairman said 95 per cent of the results of Sunday’s general election will be announced on Monday at 10 am (0300 GMT).

Ittiporn Boonprakong did not give a reason for the delay in the results, which had been due at 8.30 pm (1330 GMT) on Sunday.

Thailand has been under direct military rule for nearly five years since then-army chief Prayuth overthrew an elected government linked to exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who himself was thrown out by the army in 2006.

AFP,REUTERS