Polls have opened peacefully in five Thai provinces for re-runs of a widely disrupted general election, authorities said, in the first move to complete a troubled vote that could provide a mandate for a new government.
A February 2 election failed to ease the months-long political crisis after anti-government protesters seeking to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra obstructed the vote in many opposition strongholds.
Demonstrators prevented 10,000 polling stations from opening, affecting several million people, mainly in opposition strongholds in Bangkok and the south.
The nation’s Election Commission said the results will not be announced until polls have been held in all constituencies, setting a rough deadline of April for their completion.
A total of around 120,000 people were registered in 101 constituencies across five provinces for Sunday’s vote, election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn told AFP.
“The polls are going peacefully – everything is under control and there are no problems,” Somchai said, adding that a few dozen protesters blew whistles at one polling station in Rayong province.
A trickle of voters arrived at two polling stations early Sunday in Phetchaburi – one of the affected provinces south of Bangkok – but there were no signs of new obstruction of the polls.
Until the full results are announced, Prime Minister Yingluck remains in a caretaker role with limited power over policy.