+++All times local Thailand time (GMT +7)+++
10.10pm: This concludes the Siam Voices LIVE-blog for the 2014 Thai elections. It has been surely one of the most unusual election days, with no results being announced today and the outcome to linger in legal limbo for weeks to come. While it fortunately was mostly calm today, there were obstructions and blockades by the anti-election protesters again and the political standoff remains unresolved.
9.55pm: Again, the figure of “12 million” is The Nation’s estimate and there’s some doubt (see 4.05pm update below)
— The Nation Thailand (@nationnews) February 2, 2014
9.50pm: The Bangkok Metropolitian Authority announces that 1,143,667 out of 4,369,120 eligible voters in Bangkok have voted today, while 3,225,435 didn’t. That makes a turnout of just 26.18 per cent vs. 73.82 per cent non-voters.
21.30 น. กทม.สรุปการเลือกตั้งมีผู้มาใช้สิทธิ 1,143,667 คน (26.18%) จากผู้มีสิทธิ 4,369,120 คน ผู้ไม่มาใช้สิทธิ 3,225,453 คน (73.82%) #nna
— ธนัชพงศ์ คงสาย (@tanatpong_nna) February 2, 2014
9.45pm: Protest leader Suthep Thuagsuban has been speaking on stage now for over an hour and announces to continue to campaign to chase out PM Yingluck and “Thaksinism” with a long march on Monday. Before that, he jubilantly mocked the government for holding incomplete elections today and Yingluck’s gaffe at the ballot box. He also rejects that some gunmen at the shooting incident at Lak Si yesterday were coming from the protesters’ camp.
8.43pm: An overview of voting disruptions across Thailand’s provinces. Green means “no disturbances”, orange “some disturbances” and black “completely cancelled”.
— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) February 2, 2014
8.30pm: What will happen next? There’re hundreds of polling station that didn’t open today, those will have to hold elections at a later date. Those who were obstructed in last Sunday’s advance voting can cast their in by-elections on February 23. The 28 constituencies in the South that weren’t able to file a candidate will have to start the process at a later date.
However, we can also except a barrage of legal challenges by the both opposition Democrat Party and the protesters (who are staying put and continue rallying) being lodged at today’s elections and since it will take weeks until results will be called, the legal limbo and the political standoff continues.
7.38pm: Meanwhile, the anti-election protesters are still in a festive mood at several downtown rally stages, as it was announce that they will continue to hold rallies with a 14km across Bangkok tomorrow. It is also rumored that they may close the protest sites at Lar Phrao and Victory Monument.
The Democrat Party will file a petition with the Office of the Ombudsman, asking it to seek a ruling from the Constitution Court on whether the Feb 2 election is invalid, deputy party leader Ong-art Klampaiboon said on Sunday after the end of voting. (…)
Moreover, the government hoped to use the election results to claim that the majority of people still support it and to win support from the international community, Mr Ong-art said.
“Democrats seek to nullify polls“, Bangkok Post, February 2, 2014
5.15pm: Here’s a video by AFP showing Yingluck casting her ballots earlier this morning – as we now know in the wrong boxes. As you can see, nobody said anything there…
4.50pm: It looks like caretaker-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has put her ballots in the wrong box. In the picture below, she put her party-list ballot (orange) into the box of the district candidates (purple) and vice versa. She indeed confirmed that, but insisted that she just followed the local officials’ instructions and also has already notified the Election Commission. Either way, she may has technically voided her vote now.
4.20pm: The Election Commission just held a press conference, stating that 89.2 per cent of all polling stations operated without any disruptions. Voting was partially cancelled in 9 provinces and entirely shut down in 9 other. As expected the EC also reaffirms that they will not call the results today, since polls have to be held again at many locations until February 23.
4.05pm: ANFREL is a bit skeptical that 12 million couldn’t cast their vote today:
3.45pm: Deputy-prime minister Phongthep Thepkanjana announces that the government is satisfied that 89.28% of the polling stations were able to operate today and will petition the Election Commission to hold by-elections in 7 days.
3.35pm: From the Asian Network for Free Elections
3.30pm: Ballots are now being counted.
3.05pm: Ballots are being counted now and the Election Commission is scheduled to make an announcement at 4pm, but due to the disruptions, subsequent by-elections and legal challenges, it will take weeks (at least February 28) until it will be called – if at all.
3pm: Voting is closed!
2.45pm: The Election Commission will address today’s election at 4pm, while it was announced that the boycotting opposition Democrat Party will also make a “major” address after the polls are closed.
2.40pm: Less than 20 minutes left to vote, but as hundreds of polling stations have been forced to close, many didn’t get to vote at all like this would-be first time voter:
Quotes from 18 y/o Jitsara: “This is painful… I’ve waited for this since starting school… they robbed me right in front of my face.” — Patrick Winn (@BKKApologist) February 2, 2014
2.15pm: Bangkok districts that had to cancel voting because of anti-election protesters: the entire districts of Lak Si, Ratchathewi, Din Daeng and Bang Kae.
2pm: Last hour to vote
1.47pm: Ratchathewi is one of the few Bangkok districts that have not opened their voting stations, since it is located just a few hundred meters away from an anti-election protest rally stage. So the would-be voters staged their own mock election.
1.40pm: Less than 90 minutes left to vote. Overseas voter turnout is reported at 27 per cent, as 38,350 out of 143,807 have mailed in their votes from 67 countries.
เลือกตั้งนอกราชอาณาจักร 67 ประเทศ ลงทะเบียน143,807 คนใช้สิทธิ์38,350 คนคิดเป็น27%ผู้มาใช้สิทธิ์#วิกฤตเลือกตั้ง57#NationTV — PONGTHORN (@THORN_NBC) February 2, 2014
1.15pm: Also from earlier this morning: Udon Thani-red shirt leader Kwanchai Praipana, who survived an assassination attempt last month, is voting albeit with some assistance:
1.05pm: Earlier today, Bangkok Governor Sukhumband Paribatra (Democrat Party) lamented on Facebook that he had to vote today…
12.40pm: The situation in Din Daeng district seems to have calmed down, as a lot of would-be voters are now filing complaints with the police.
Latest from Din Daeng: scores of journalists are bored because nothing much is going on — Alessandro Ursic (@aleursic) February 2, 2014
12.15pm: ThaiPBS just gave an overview of the situation at the polling stations across the country.
12.13pm: Okay, that’s all from the morning crew. We’ll hand it over to @Saksith who will be updating through the afternoon and evening. Thanks for reading.
12.09pm: For a different perspective on today’s developments in Thailand see Bangkok Pundit’s live blog here.
12.06pm: Just under three hours to go. Polls close at 3pm. Vote counting is likely to continue through the evening. With the opposition Democrats boycotting the election, the result is a foregone conclusion. The big question is likely to be whether the result is legitimate.
11.50am: Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha casts his ballot, refuses to comment on yesterday’s incidents in Lak Si district.
EC chair: Only Constitution Court can tackle question of whether this election is legitimate or not. — tulsathit (@tulsathit) February 2, 2014
11.24am: Quick Bangkok Post breakdown on voting disruption:
Would-be voters struggled to get into polling stations in 42 constituencies across 77 provinces targeted by anti-government protesters as nationwide polls got underway at 8am Sunday. Despite this, Election Commission (EC) secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said 333 out of 375 constituencies across the country were able to commence voting.
11.05am: The general consensus is that voting is going ahead in 80-90 per cent of constituencies.
10.38am: The situation in Thailand has been relatively calm this morning. A stand-off between voters and those attempting to thwart the polls has been reported in the Din Daeng area of Bangkok. Voting has also been cancelled in other areas of the capital, including Bang Kapi, Lak Si and Ratchathewi. In the south of Thailand, polling stations in Trang, Krabi, Phattalung and Phang Nga have reportedly closed.
Bluesky: Trang, Krabi, Phattalung, Phang Nga have cancelled balloting due to lack of staff&ballots. — tulsathit (@tulsathit) February 2, 2014
10.16am: All relatively calm amid polling in Thailand so far, but here’s a video of how Rak Prathet Thai party leader Chuwit Kamolvisit deals with anti-election protesters:
10am: According to reports, voting is cancelled in many areas of Bangkok, including Bang Kapi, Lak Si, Ratchathewi and Din Daeng.
8.40am: Rak Prathet Thai party leader Chuwit Kamolvisit brawls with anti-election protesters at a polling station:
8.30am: Associated Press reports:
Thailand’s tense national election got underway Sunday amid signs of disruptions at several polling stations and fears of violence, a day after gun battles between protesters and would-be voters broke out at a busy Bangkok intersection. The extent of disruptions was not immediately clear when polls opened nationwide, but there were early indications that dozens of polling stations in Bangkok would not open because protesters blocked delivery of ballots or stopped voters from entering.
8.20am: Interim Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra casts her vote. However, we won’t be seeing her opposite number, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, at the polls today.
8am: Polling stations are now open and will close at 3pm.
7.08am: Read Bangkok Pundit’s analysis on voter turnout and expectations ahead of today’s vote: Thailand: Voter turnout and 2014 election predictions
7am: The opposition Democrat Party is boycotting today’s elections. The remaining question is if its high-ranking members will personally go to the polling booth, since voting in Thailand is compulsory and a no-show could bar one from running for office. Nevertheless, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva announced on his Facebook page on Saturday that he will NOT go to vote, saying that the elections are “unconstitutional.”
6am: Good morning. Today, 48,774,915 Thai citizens are eligible to cast their ballots at 93,305 polling stations across the country in 375 constituencies – that is if they can. After months of anti-election protests, the opposition movement will attempt to derail today’s elections by besieging and blocking polling stations in Bangkok and the south.
Fears of violent incidents are high, especially after gunfire and blasts occurred yesterday in Lak Si district in the north of Bangkok when both pro-government and anti-election groups clashed. At leastseven people were reportedly injured. Even with clear results and minimal disruptions, the result of today’s polls will be in legal limbo as its very legitimacy is being questioned on several fronts and could take months before being officially confirmed.