Pattaya Daily News

16 December 2007 :: 21:12:13 pm 29360

Turnout High as Thai Elections Begins

PATTAYA, Dec. 16 (PDN) -- Turnout was heavy Saturday on the first day of early voting in Thailand‘s first election since a military coup ousted the prime minister.
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A total of 85.5 per cent of the 80,000 people who registered to cast advance ballots outside their constituencies where they have house registrations exercised their voting right during this weekend.

Turnout was heavy in Banglamung.Pattaya But a lot of people also voted in three southern provinces where there had been fears that insurgents would try to disrupt the election.

Voters were allowed to register to cast ballots this weekend instead of Dec. 23. Navies, who are likely to be on duty on the official election day, registered and voted in significant numbers.

“People were active in casting their ballots. They went to the polling booths early this morning. I assure you that the Dec. 23 polls will not be postponed,” the commissioner said.

In Bangkok, a total of 415,803 people turned out yesterday to cast advance ballots for the December 23 general election, the first polls to be held after a bloodless military coup toppled the elected government of prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19, 2006.

According to Mr. Suthipol, a total of 903,829 people living in Bangkok had registered to cast advance ballots. The voting ends at 5.00 p.m. local time (1000 gmt) nationwide today.

Because of the high voter turn out on Saturday, Mr. Suthipol said he expected about 80 per cent of the total eligible voters who had registered for advance voting would vote.

Complaints meanwhile were lodged regarding Saturday’s advance voting upcountry, when trucks were seen transporting a large number of voters to cast ballots as EC officials were investigating the incidents, said Mr. Suthipol.

He reiterated there was no budget problem for the EC to publish special ballots for the blind, although a problem occurred due to a delay in transporting the ballots.

Touching on a report about the burning of about 2,500 ballots in the northeastern province of Roi Et yesterday, Mr. Suthipol said it was an officials’ mistake who thought they were ballots for the public referendum on the constitution held earlier this year.
According to an initial investigation, Roi Et election officials were careless in bringing ballot papers used for advance voting to burn along with ballot papers used for the August 19 public referendum.
Extra ballots were later sent to substitute those which were burned, while EC officials filed complaints against those officials who had destroyed the ballots, said Mr. Suthipol.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Politics News

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