| 5 December 2023, Tuesday |

Thailand election: Opposition parties seek coalition talks

The preliminary results of Thailand’s general election held on Sunday indicate a significant victory for the opposition parties, namely the Move Forward Party (MFP) and the Pheu Thai party. Pita Limjaroenrat, a member of the Move Forward Party, expressed on Twitter that their party had received substantial support from the people across the country.
Pita later told reporters he was ready to be prime minister and that he would seek to build a coalition with five other parties including Pheu Thai.

The pro-democracy leader also announced that he will ensure a “comprehensive, transparent discussion” on the Lese-Majeste Law — a controversial law which imposes lengthy prison sentences on those who criticize the monarchy.
With 99% of votes counted, data from the Election Commission showed that MFP had 113 constituency seats of the 400 seats where MPs are elected across the country.

The Pheu Thai Party led by Paetongtarn Shinawatra — the daughter of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra — has 112 seats.

Both opposition parties are anti-military parties and the Senate comprises members who favor the military.

The national election is set to unseat the ruling conservative military-backed government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha after almost a decade. Prayuth’s United Thai Nation Party has 23 constituency seats.

But who heads the next government won’t be decided by Sunday’s vote alone. The prime minister will be selected in July in a joint session of the House and the 250-seat Senate, which was appointed by the junta.
After casting her ballot in Bangkok, Shinawatra showed no signs of nerves. “Today is going to be a good day. I have very positive energy about it,” the 36-year-old told reporters.

The progressive Move Forward Party, led by 42-year-old Pita, made strong gains especially among younger voters.

Incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was running for re-election with his newly formed conservative United Thai Nation Party. As one of those involved in Thailand’s 2014 military coup, Prayuth became premier after a controversial 2019 election.

Prawit Wongsuwan, who leads the Palang Pracharath Party, was also one of the chief architects of the 2014 coup. He was a close ally of Prayuth, serving as his deputy prime minister, until they fell out.

About 52 million people were eligible to vote in the elections to choose between progressive opposition parties and the incumbent government led by Prayuth who first came to power in a 2014 coup.

  • DW