Thailand’s embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday confronted a legal challenge to nullify weekend elections, while a scrapped rice deal dealt a blow to her effort to maintain support from farmers. The opposition Democrat Party’s legal team filed a petition to ask Thailand’s Constitutional Court to nullify Sunday’s election, arguing the poll violated the country’s constitution because it wasn’t completed in one day, and the partial results could influence decisions of voters who would vote late. General elections on Sunday were disrupted in 11% of the electoral districts—mostly in Bangkok and southern Thailand—by street protesters who vowed to remove Ms. Yingluck from office and suspend the election that her party was expected to win. The Election Commission said it would withhold results until all electoral districts that were prevented from voting on Sunday have done so. The chief of the opposition’s legal team, Wiratana Kalayasiri, said the ruling Pheu Thai Party and some ministers have already disclosed publicly how many parliament seats they are likely to get, and that could influence voters. Mr. Wiratana, whose party boycotted the poll, also asked the court to dissolve Ms. Yingluck’s Pheu Thai and ban its executives from politics.
On Tuesday, Ms. Yingluck continued working at a temporary office on the outskirts of Bangkok amid tight security. While no protesters showed up as threatened, the prime minister left the premises through the back door without speaking with reporters for the second consecutive day.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said he would continue to step up pressure on Ms. Yingluck to force her to leave office, even though the number of his supporters in the streets has dwindled.
Pressure from local farmers, key allies of Ms. Yingluck’s party, also intensified after the government couldn’t pay for her flagship rice-subsidy program. Angry farmers have rallied and blocked roads in many provinces to demand their overdue payment. Some haven’t been paid since October, when the government renewed the subsidy in which it buys rice from farmers at above-market prices. Further denting the subsidy program, Chinese state enterprise Beidahuang canceled a contract to buy 1.2 million tons of rice from Thailand—one of the largest deals in months—because of a corruption probe into Thailand’s rice-subsidy program, Thai commerce minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisal said Tuesday. “Beidahuang is worried that it may get caught up in an investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Commission,” he said.