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Forming the next Thai government – Bhumjaithai and Democrats will decide

The result of who becomes the next government won’t come down to Palang Pracharat, Pheu Thai or even Future Forward. The horse-trading, that has been ongoing since the first results emerged after the March 24 election, has come down to some very simple maths.

The ‘swinging’ Bhumjaithai Party. Their votes will sweep either Pheu Thai or the Junta-in-civilian-clothing, Palang Pracharat, to power. They are the most likely of the ‘non committed’ parties to fall behind the anti-Junta gang although they are playing their cards very close to their chest right now.

The anti-junta bloc currently falls short of MPs required to form a government after its seat count fell from 255 to 245 under the Election Commission’s controversial party-list calculation method. But pro-democracy figures remain optimistic, as they believe not all the seats from the remaining 20 winning parties will necessarily go to Phalang Pracharat.

Pheu Thai Party secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai yesterday tweeted that the pro-junta camp had only secured 138 seats in the lower house so far against the opposition bloc’s 245 seats.

The undecided faction comprising Democrat, Bhumjaithai, Chartthaipattana and Chartpattana parties now accounted for 116 MPs, he added.

“It’s the Thai people’s duty to press this faction to make a decision,” the anti-junta politician said. “The country is in your hands. Don’t let anyone destroy it.”

The group Phumtham called the undecided faction, however, is viewed as leaning towards the pro-regime camp.

Earlier in the week it was reported that the Democrats and Bhumjaithai have been offered six spots each in the Cabinet by a buoyant Palang Pracharat, following the latest announcements about Party-list seats.

Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul dismissed the rumours yesterday, writing on Facebook that there had been neither talks on setting up a government nor negotiations over Cabinet seats.

“Bhumjaithai is listening to the voice of the people,” Anutin wrote.

A Democrat Party source also denied having negotiated with the pro-regime bloc, saying talks could be conducted after next Wednesday when the party chooses its new leader.

Political analyst Anusorn Unno, dean of the Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology at Thammasat University says that with the dust still not settled from the election results there were still possibilities for the anti-junta camp to beat its rival to form the government.

“It’s at the negotiation stage right now,” he said.

“It is unclear how many or which parties will support the |current regime. They only have three parties now with only some 120 MPs.”

While many doubt that Bhumjaithai would join the anti-junta camp, Anusorn reckons anything is possible since party leader Anutin had said the decision had yet to be made.

SOURCE: The Nation

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