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Thai opposition petitions court to annul election

The prime minister’s party called the vote.

The prime minister’s party called the vote.

BANGKOK — Thailand’s main opposition party petitioned a court Tuesday to annul last weekend’s disrupted national election, launching a legal challenge that could prolong the divided country’s political paralysis.

The Democrat Party’s petition to the Constitutional Court also urges the dissolution of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ruling party, which called Sunday’s elections in a bid to defuse antigovernment protests that started three months ago.

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Wiratana Kalayasiri, head of the Democrat Party’s legal team, said the petition argues that the polls violated the constitution on several grounds, including that they were not completed in one day.

Critics call the Democrats’ argument counterintuitive, saying the reason the election could not be finished in one day is because antigovernment protesters backed by the party sabotaged the vote.

The Democrat Party boycotted the election, and the protesters aligned with it forced the closure of hundreds of polling stations in Bangkok and the south, preventing millions of people from voting.

As a result, a series of special elections are required to complete the balloting. Election results cannot be announced until all areas have voted.

‘‘This election has violated the constitution on several counts, but mainly it was not a fair one,’’ Wiratana said. ‘‘The election was not held on the same day.’’

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