News / Asia

Thailand Plans Second Round of Voting

  • Soldiers hold their shields as officials leave a government office where Prime Minster Yingluck Shinawatra had been holding a meeting as anti-government protesters gather outside in Bangkok, Feb. 3, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester carrying a national flag, a guitar and a "No Vote" sign follows others moving from one protest camp to another in Bangkok Feb. 3, 2014.
  • Voters hold their identification cards and the chains that held the gate of the polling station closed, as they demand the right to vote during general elections in Bangkok, Feb. 2, 2014.
  • Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban waves to supporters during a march through Bangkok, Feb. 3, 2014.
  • Thai Prime Minister and Pheu Thai party leader Yingluck Shinawatra poses before casting her ballot in Bangkok, Feb. 2, 2014.
  • Thai soldiers pose with their identity cards as they wait in a line to vote at a polling station in Bangkok, Feb. 2, 2014.
  • Empty ballot boxes are shown before voting in Bangkok, Feb. 2, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters check voting ballots they seized to disrupt elections before handing the papers back to officials after the general election in Hat Yai district, Songkhla province, southern Thailand, Feb. 2, 2014.
Elections in Thailand
Ron Corben
Electoral officials in Thailand say they cannot schedule further voting in the nation's tense national election until protests that hampered the polling ends. Anti-government protesters disrupted voting Sunday and have vowed to continue mass street demonstrations to topple the caretaker government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. 

Unofficial figures indicate about 45 percent of eligible voters participated in Sunday’s vote. If confirmed, it would be a sharp drop from the 75 percent who voted in 2011 elections.
While many voters stayed away from the polls, others in parts of Bangkok and southern Thailand were unable to vote because protesters prevented ballots from being delivered.

Second round

The caretaker government has said it will hold a second round of polls for people who were not able to vote Sunday.
But Thailand's senior election commissioner Somchai Sisutthiyakorn said Monday, elections for those areas could not be held until the ongoing anti-government protests end.
Somchai said for the elections to succeed both sides in the political turmoil must compromise, and as long as conflict continues the election would never succeed.

Although voter turnout was low, ballots were cast in almost 90 percent of polling stations nationwide. Voting was canceled in 69 constituencies in 18 provinces.
Candidates came from 53 parties led by the governing Pheu Thai Party of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. In the capital, Bangkok, center of the anti-government campaign to prevent voting, turnout was estimated at a low 25 percent.
More protests

A day after the vote, protesters returned to the streets in downtown Bangkok, and surrounded a government building where the prime minister was meeting.
Protest leader Suthep Thangsuban announced the group would dismantle two protest sites, and concentrate their efforts on several existing rally-points in the city.
Government opponents are expected to lobby Thailand’s courts to nullify Sunday’s election, posing additional challenges to the ruling party.
But Gothom Areeya, director of Mahidol University's Research Center for Peace, is hopeful that despite the legal challenges, the election process should carry on.
"The nullification of the election is a threat because the judiciary has so far issued so many rulings that for me was not completely logical," Gothom said. "[But] if we have the will to continue this difficult process of election we will be able to compete it and produce a parliament."
Late last year, the Constitutional Court ruled that the ruling party’s proposal to fill all of Thailand’s Senate seats through direct elections was an attempt to “overthrow” democracy. Currently half of the seats are appointed by civil servants and judges.
In Thailand's political impasse, protesters accuse the ruling party of rampant corruption and excessive influence from former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin, the brother of Prime Minister Yingluck, lives in exile to avoid a jail term on corruption charges.

WATCH: Related video footage

Protesters Dismiss Thai Electionsi
February 03, 2014 10:47 AM
Anti-government protesters have dismissed Sunday's snap elections in Thailand and vow to continue mass street protests to topple the caretaker government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: MikeBarnett from: USA
February 03, 2014 5:05 PM
The opposition is a minority that was only able to stop voting in 10% of Thailand's polling stations. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra won in 2011 when 75% of eligible voters voted. If 45% of eligible voters voted, and none of the opposition voted owing to boycotts, it indicates that the Shinawatra government retains 60% support in the country as a whole. The world should ignore the childish rantings and ravings of those who don't have enough support to win elections.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs