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Monday, October 2, 2023

Thai Main Opposition Parties Agree to Form Coalition after Election Success

The Move Forward party and opposition heavyweight Pheu Thai triumphed over army-backed parties on Sunday in a shocking win

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

THAILAND: Thailand’s two major opposition parties decided to create a government coalition on Monday after sweeping aside their military-backed rivals in a weekend poll that they have controlled for almost a decade.

The Move Forward party and opposition heavyweight Pheu Thai triumphed over army-backed parties on Sunday in a shocking win. They might have a hard time getting enough votes, though, because the legislative procedures established by the military after a coup in 2014 are biassed in favour of the coup’s proponents.

Their coalition would need to make sure that its attempts to create a new government would not be thwarted by a junta-appointed Senate, which has a history of backing conservative parties led by generals and has the power to vote on the prime minister in a bicameral session of the 750-member legislature.

Pita Limjaroenrat, the 42-year-old head of Move Forward, put out a proposal for a coalition of six parties that would control 309 seats and have him as prime minister. That would fall short of the 376 seats required to guarantee his election to the position of president.

When questioned about the upper house Senate, he remarked that all parties must recognise the election results and that it is pointless to contest them.

At a press conference, he stated, “I am not worried, but I am not careless.” “It will be quite a hefty price to pay if someone is thinking about debunking the election result or forming a minority government,” he said.

Pheu Thai, owned by the wealthy Shinawatra family, stated that it agreed with Pita’s proposal and wished him luck in his bid for the position of prime minister.

The party had won the majority of seats in every election this century, twice in landslides, but Move Forward proved to be its match as it nearly swept the capital Bangkok and made advances in other Pheu Thai and conservative strongholds.

At a news conference, Pheu Thai leader Chonlanan Srikaew stated, “Pheu Thai has no plan to form any other government.”

When questioned about the likelihood that the upper house would prevent their coalition from passing, he responded, “In principle, senators will have to respect the people’s voice.”

Even though the results seem to be a crushing blow for the military and its allies, they could build a new administration because of parliamentary rules on their side and some powerful people backing them.

Move Forward was inspired by a surge of youth enthusiasm for its liberal platform and pledges of radical reforms, such as dismantling monopolies and changing the prohibition on insulting the monarchy.

The Shinawatra family and an establishment that supported the military were at the centre of a power struggle that lasted for years and resulted in two decades of on-and-off turbulence.

Pita declared that Move Through would move through with its proposal to reform severe laws against insulting the monarchy known as lese majeste, which detractors claim have been exploited to limit free speech. The monarchy of Thailand doesn’t address the law or its application.

There are hundreds of people facing prosecution, some of whom are in pre-trial detention, and the law punishes perceived insults with up to 15 years in prison.

Pita asserted that the appropriate venue for requesting changes to the law, or Article 112 of the penal code, would be parliament.

“We will use the parliament to make sure that there is a comprehensive discussion with maturity and transparency about how we should move forward in terms of the relationship between the monarchy and the masses,” he stated.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, one of Pheu Thai’s leading candidates, responded that it might be addressed in the legislature when asked if Pheu Thai would support that.

She stated, “Pheu Thai has a clear stand that we won’t abolish 112, but there can be a discussion about the law in parliament.”

Also Read: Thailand: Toyota Stops Sales of the Yaris Model after Safety Test Issue


  • Sadaf Hasan
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