Citing the need to investigate alleged electoral law violations, Thailand’s Election Commission has postponed certifying the poll victory of Yingluck Shinawatra, the opposition leader who was poised to become the fractious nation’s first female prime minister.
The commission announced late Tuesday that Yingluck was one of a quarter of winning candidates in the country’s July 3 parliamentary ballot that it has yet to endorse.
The move was sure to raise tensions in the volatile nation, but the commission could still certify the candidates’ victories in the days ahead if they are absolved of the complaints against them.
The Election Commission, which has the right to disqualify winners, did not specify reasons for it rulings on Tuesday.
Among the 142 candidates in the 500-member lower house of parliament that the commission failed to endorse was the army-backed incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Ms. Yingluck is the youngest sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose overthrow in a 2006 military coup triggered years of turmoil that many see as pitting long-marginalised rural Thais against an elite alliance comprising the army, the military and powerful businessmen and politicians.
Mr. Thaksin is barred from politics and lives in exile in Dubai to escape a two-year prison term on a graft conviction that he says is politically motivated.
Ms. Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party won 265 of the parliament seats up for grabs, a victory that gave the opposition the crucial majority it needed to form a government.
The lower house has 30 days to convene and another 30 days from its first session to officially select a prime minister.
Yingluck plays down endorsement delay
Meanwhile, Yingluck Shinawatra The woman set to become Thailand’s first female prime minister on Wednesday played down a decision by the Election Commission to postpone certification of her poll victory over allegations she violated electoral law.
The commission announced late Tuesday that 44-year-old Yingluck Shinawatra was one of a quarter of winning candidates from the country’s July 3 parliamentary ballot whose endorsements were still pending investigations into complaints against them.
Any move to disqualify Yingluck, who heads the opposition Pheu Thai party, could trigger mass protests by her supporters and spark a new round of turmoil in the fractious Southeast Asian nation.
Ms. Yingluck told reporters Wednesday: “I believe that the Election Commission will grant justice to me and the Pheu Thai party.”
She described the postponement as part of a “normal process” for the commission and said it still had a month to investigate and make a final decision.
The Election Commission, which has the right to disqualify winners, did not specify reasons for it rulings Tuesday and could still certify the candidates’ victories in the days ahead if they are absolved of the complaints against them. The commission is expected to certify a second batch of candidates next week.