An electoral member shows a ballot during the vote counting, during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019.
An electoral member shows a ballot during the vote counting, during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019.

Thailand's Election Commission said Thursday, the pro-army Palang Pracharat Party won the popular vote in Sunday's (March 24) general election with 8.4 million ballots.

Krit Urwongse, deputy-secretary general of the Election Commission said the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, which was toppled in a military coup five years ago received 7.9 million votes.

Although the results represent all the ballots counted, the tally remains unofficial until final results are revealed on May 9.

Rohana Nishanta Hettiarachchie, left,  secretary general of The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) watches as Amael Vier, program officer for Capacity Building, right, speaks during a press conference concluding their election monitoring in Ba
Election Monitor Slams 'Deeply Flawed' Ballot Counting in Thailand
A regional election observation group is criticizing the initial results from Sunday’s general election in Thailand as “deeply flawed.”   Preliminary results released Monday by the country’s election commission show the military-backed Phalang Pracharat was leading in the ballot counting, but the populist Pheu Thai is leading in the number of parliamentary seats with 137 versus 97 seats for Phalang Pracharat. The commission blames the confusing and contradictory results on “human error.” …

The commission has not announced the full number of seats for each party in the 500-seat House of Representatives.

Both the pro-army Palang Pracharat, which campaigned on keeping coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha as elected prime minister, and an anti-junta "democratic front" have claimed a mandate to form the next government, but it is unclear if either side will be able to gather enough votes in parliament to form a workable government.

Uttama Savanayana, Palang Pracharat Party leader, holds a news conference during the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019.
Military-Backed Party Leads in Thai Elections
Thais waited Monday for the results of an election called a return to democratic rule, but which has been widely criticized as an exercise designed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha to entrench his military’s stranglehold on power.Preliminary official results released late Sunday showed that with 93 percent of ballots counted the military-backed Phalang Pracharat party was in the lead with about 7.6 million votes, short of what would be needed for a majority in parliament.In second place was the Pheu…

A government led by the incumbent prime minister may start as a minority, but it would likely to try to entice members from the opposition to switch sides.

Without a majority in parliament, his government would struggle to pass any laws.