♦ The commission has not announced full number of seats for each party in 500-seat parliament
♦ Nine arrested for posting election 'fake news'
Thailand's chaotic election took another turn yesterday when the Election Commission announced that the pro-army party, which is seeking to keep the current junta leader in power, had won the popular vote, with 100 percent of ballots counted.
The announcement does not make clear the overall winner of Sunday's general election, the first since a 2014 military coup.
Both the pro-army Palang Pracharat 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.
Palang Pracharat party, backing junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, won the popular vote with 8.4 million ballots, the Election Commission said.
The main opposition Pheu Thai Party, whose elected government was toppled in the coup, got 7.9 million votes.
"These numbers are fully-counted results officially reported by each constituency," said Krit Urwongse, deputy secretary-general of the Election Commission.
The results represented 100 percent of the ballots counted but would remain unofficial until final results are announced on May 9.
The numbers were for the nationwide popular vote. Breakdowns of the parties' shares of the vote in each of the 350 constituencies were also released.
The commission has not announced the full number of seats for each party in the 500-seat House of Representatives, reported Reuters.
Results for the lower house's 350 directly elected "constituent seats" showed Pheu Thai with 137 and the Palang Pracharat with 97.
The remaining 150 House of Representatives seats are allocated according to a complex formula involving the total number of votes for each party.
The vote numbers released yesterday should allow a clearer view of how the 150 party seats will be divided. The commission itself has said it would not to announce the party seats until May 9, when the official results are finalised.
Meanwhile, nine people have been arrested in Thailand for spreading "fake news" on Facebook with posts about sacked election officials and bogus ballots in the wake of controversial polls in the kingdom, reported AFP.