BANGKOK : THAI junta's party takes shock lead in election.

Thailand's ruling junta took a running lead in the country's first election since 2014 coup with more than 90 percent of ballots counted, putting it on course to return to power at the expense of the kingdom's  pro-democracy camp.

Sunday's elections was held under new laws written by the military to smooth its transformation into a civilian government.

While it had set the rules of the game in its favor, analysts had not expected the party to win the popular vote, given mounting anger at junta rule and due to the enduring populairity of Pheu Thai, the party of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The army-linked Phalang Pracharat party, which wants junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha to return as premier, gained more than 7.3 million votes with 93 percents of ballots tallied, according to the Election Commission - nearly half a more than Pheu Thai.

The EC said it would announce full results on Monday, including the numbers of lower house seats won by each party.

The election pitted a royalist junta and its allies against the election-winning machine of billionaire Thaksin - who was toppled in 2006 coup - and featured an unpredictable wave of millions of first-time voters.

There was a high turnout as voters flocked to schoolyards, temples and government offices across the nation, their enthusiasm fired  by years of denied democracy [AFP]

The publishing will continue as events unfold.


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