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BANGKOK 18 April 2019 23:58
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Thailand votes: Race to muster coalition

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Race to muster coalition

By Political Desk 
The Nation 

 

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Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharat both claim right to form government with support of likeminded parties

 

A day after the election, two rival parties – the Shinawatra-backed Pheu Thai and the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat – were locked in a close battle to form the next government with little difference between the two in terms of strength in Parliament.

 

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While the Phalang Pracharat Party claims it has secured the “popular vote” from people nationwide, Pheu Thai argued that it has won the most number of MP seats and therefore should be invited first to form the government.

 

With 94 per cent of votes counted yesterday, the pro-junta party grossed 7,939,937 votes nationwide while the Shinawatra-backed Pheu Thai was second with 7,423,361 votes. 

 

In this election, the total number of votes for each party – irrespective of whether its constituency candidates win or not – are combined to determine how many MPs each party gets in total. 

 

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday announced unofficial results of constituency winners. Pheu Thai Party became the single-largest party with 138 seats from all 350 constituencies. Phalang Pracharat, meanwhile, came second, winning 96 seats. 

 

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According to current media calculations, the total number of seats from constituency and party-list, Pheu Thai will get the most number at 138 while Phalang Pracharat will have 119. The EC has not calculated the number of party-list seats.

 

Though both parties can make equally strong claims to form the government, analysts believe it will not be easy for them to sail through Parliament. 

 

Neither camp seems to be in a position to gather 250 seats and that could lead to a deadlock. Moreover, the number between the two camps is too close. 

 

According to the latest figures, the pro-junta camp can gain around 242 seats with support from parties who are clearly opposed to Pheu Thai. 

 

The Pheu Thai camp can also muster 242 seats with support from anti-junta parties like Future Forward, Seri Ruam Thai and Prachachart.

 

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Pheu Thai yesterday claimed victory in the election after the EC announced the results, saying it had emerged as the number one party with 138 winning constituency candidates.

 

“Only the winning party should lead the coalition,” its de facto leader Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan said at a press conference yesterday.

 

“And we will certainly only work with those who oppose the junta’s attempt to retain power.”

 

She said Pheu Thai had prioritised the public interest over everything else. The party insisted on responding to the people’s demand and restoring democracy, she said, though hinting it would be willing to compromise on the PM candidate.

 

Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said that the party was seeking collaboration with other pro-democracy parties and would discuss the PM candidate to find the best option for the country.

 

Pheu Thai leaders have also started putting pressure on the junta-appointed Senate, stressing that senators must be free of any influence and respect the people’s voices as reflected in the election.

 

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Later yesterday, Phalang Pracharat Party leader Uttama Savanayana claimed his party had won the right to form the next government as more than 7.9 million people nationwide had voted for them. He also said he was confident his party could successfully form the next government. 

 

“Every vote is counted and has meaning. We have legitimacy, as we have gained the most trusted votes. Our winning results [with the most votes nationwide] show that voters have given us the mandate to govern the country,” he said at a press conference after the EC announced the unofficial results.

 

“We will ensure that we will do everything according to the mandate of the voters who want us to move the country forward peacefully,” he said.

 

However, he said his party’s principle is that any party who can gather the most seats in the bloc can form the government. 

 

Uttama said he had begun talking with other parties who have common policies to form a coalition government, but declined to disclose the party names.

 

A Phalang Pracharat source said negotiations were on with Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul, Chartthai Pattana leader Kanchana Silpa-archa, Suthep Thaugsuban of Action Coalition for Thailand and Suwat Liptapanlop of Chartpattana. The Democrat Party is also negotiating.

 

Anutin yesterday did not commit to joining any side, saying he would do whatever was in the people’s interests. 

 

“There is still time [to consider]. But I insist I won’t support a PM with a minority government as I think the government after the election should have stability and be able to work for the people,” he added.

 

He said he had not yet been contacted by anyone or any party. 

 

 If Phalang Pracharat can close a deal with those parties, its coalition government would have 242 seats but that would still fall short of ensuring stability for the new government led by Prayut Chan-o-cha.

 

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Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (centre L) speaks during a press conference in Bangkok on March 25, 2019 after Thailand's general election. // AFP PHOTO

 

Meanwhile, the Future Forward Party celebrated victories in 30 constituencies in its electoral debut. |But its leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, said he had no intentions of bidding for the top job.

 

“The prime minister must be nominated from the party with the most MPs,” Thanathorn said firmly at a press conference yesterday. “I’m ready to be the PM. But we want to uphold democratic traditions and we won’t bring in any conditions that would lead the country to another deadlock.”

 

The party’s secretary-general, Piyabutr Sangkanokkul, however, set three conditions for Future Forward to join any coalition – write a new constitution, overturn the junta’s legacy, and reform the Army to prevent coups.

 

Analysts see Phalang Pracharat, who have nominated Prayut as the next PM, as most likely to form the next government.

 

“It is the only formula I can see now, judging from the number of MP seats each party has got,” said Titipol Phakdeewanich, dean of political science at Ubon Ratchathani University.

 

Although the two blocs are very close in terms of numerical strength, Titipol thinks Phalang Pracharat is at an advantage as it has the support of 250 senators in the vote for PM, so, it would not be difficult to attract other small parties in addition to its allies.

 

In exchange for securing a stable government and Prayut as prime minister, the party would be willing to compromise or sacrifice some important Cabinet positions to those parties invited to join its bloc, Titipol said.

 

The party could also attract other parties by offering provincial budgets for politicians as well.

 

However, with the close race between the two blocs, Titipol thinks that with 52 seats, Bhumjaitai’s Anutin could play hard to get for both camps and will have an upper hand in the negotiations. 

 

The New Economics Party of Mingkwan Sangsuwan, who won six seats, could also join either camp, he added.

 

Titipol still sees some hope for Thai politics even if Pheu Thai becomes an opposition party.

 

“It will benefit the country if they can play a strong opposition role to scrutinise Prayut’s next government and force Phalang Pracharat to learn what true democracy is,” he added.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30366540

 

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-- © Copyright The Nation 2019-03-26
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1 hour ago, edwinchester said:

Come to our village or any rural communities where the economy has been devastated.....they hate him.

Obviously not as much as before given the results of the election. The junta party got more votes then the PTP. I would say that is pretty good proof he is not hated as much as you say. (i still hate him and Thaksin too)

 

I seriously expected a huge humiliation of the junta party, now the ones who were humiliated were the Democrats and the PTP with their huge losses of voters. 

 

Yes I like the PTP losing votes (Thaksin is on his way out) , but at the same time I hate the junta getting this many votes. But I am happy that future forward is getting quite a bit of votes. They were the one I would support (still have to prove themselves).

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Interesting also for the southern Thailand provinces-based wherein the Muslim Prachachart Party won 6 seats vs pro-junta Suthep's Action Coalition for Thailand Party that won 1 seat.

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I didn’t see anything changed in the last 5 years in this country except clean up the coup, after the junta took over. The street and the hungers still the same. So next five years gonna be long and tough, hope the people here decide what exactly they want and what exactly they need to be a change for young generation.

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2 hours ago, robblok said:

Obviously not as much as before given the results of the election. The junta party got more votes then the PTP. I would say that is pretty good proof he is not hated as much as you say. (i still hate him and Thaksin too)

 

I seriously expected a huge humiliation of the junta party, now the ones who were humiliated were the Democrats and the PTP with their huge losses of voters. 

 

Yes I like the PTP losing votes (Thaksin is on his way out) , but at the same time I hate the junta getting this many votes. But I am happy that future forward is getting quite a bit of votes. They were the one I would support (still have to prove themselves).

Because you believe that vote count?

 

The only reason the economy did ok was when the Junta decided to call upon Somkid Jatusripitak (co-founder of Thai Rak Thai and Thaksin partner) to fix things after Prayut's Thai happiness concerts policy were threatening to collapse it....

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1 hour ago, kingstonkid said:

No matter who is the party in power we know 2 things.

 

1. Unlike the past where either the PT or Dem controlled things, there will not be 1 party calling the shots so that will diminish the ability of the little man and his sister.

 

2.  This will not go for more than a couple of years before we have the next election.

 

If I was in charge of Future Forward I would not get in bed with either party.  Stay separate and operate on your mandate.  Do not get in bed with either side.  

 

Stay as an opposition party voting free from the pressures that one or the other may put on you in a coalition

 

Then they truly have the power and can show the people what they can do

 

 

 

Its a hard choice for Thanathorn, getting in bed with other parties will tarnish his anti corruption stance if he does not act when he sees things go bad. I would say get in a coalition but blow it up if he sees too much corruption and then point it out. The people will understand then especially if he shows what corruption was there.

 

I think the people would not understand him not joining the PTP right now and let the army take over. So join them but keep them in check or blow up the coalition if they get too corrupt to make sure he does not get the same bad image. 

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Surely there are only 2 options now for these political parties:

 

1. Join forces and the consequences be damned.

 

or

 

2. Accept military rule basically forever.

 

If the Junta form a government now then it really is game over forever.

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3 hours ago, robblok said:

Obviously not as much as before given the results of the election. The junta party got more votes then the PTP. I would say that is pretty good proof he is not hated as much as you say. (i still hate him and Thaksin too)

 

I seriously expected a huge humiliation of the junta party, now the ones who were humiliated were the Democrats and the PTP with their huge losses of voters. 

 

Yes I like the PTP losing votes (Thaksin is on his way out) , but at the same time I hate the junta getting this many votes. But I am happy that future forward is getting quite a bit of votes. They were the one I would support (still have to prove themselves).

Thailand reminds me of the young lady in their TV soapies who is raped by the man but eventually she marries the rapist. "Oh, he loved me so much that he wanted to have sex with me, so he raped me. He must love me to rape me therefore I will stay with him." 

It's the mindest.

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