A pro-military party in Thailand carved out of the ruling junta took a surprise lead in the country's first election since a coup nearly five years ago, according to media outlets, which cited partial results from the Thai Election Commission.
Palang Pracharat, the party that seeks to keep Prayuth Chan-Ocha in power, got 7.59 million votes, with 93% of votes counted, Reuters said. Prayuth led the coup that overthrew Thailand's last elected government in 2014.
The Pheu Thai party, seen as a critic of the military government, trailed with 7.12 million votes, but could still win the elections due to its popularity in the north and northeast portions of Thailand, according to the report.
As part of its election campaign, the military party proposed cutting taxes and increasing the minimum wage by more than 30%, Bloomberg News reported.
The Election Commission said turnout stood at 66%, Reuters and Bloomberg News reported.
Under Thai's new electoral system, the Palang Pracharat party has to secure only 126 seats in the 500-seat House of Representatives, while other parties leading a "democratic front" would need 376.
The Election Commission is expected to release unofficial results later on March 25.