Thailand opposition faces hurdles despite election win

Image via Facebook Move Forward Party

The formation of a new government in Thailand faces significant challenges following the opposition’s victory in the May 14 General Election. The 500 newly-elected Members of Parliament (MPs) are required to vote for a new prime minister alongside 250 senators appointed by military generals who staged the coup, according to Professor Duncan McCargo, director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen.

The opposition MPs, expected to form a six-party coalition, may struggle to get their prime ministerial candidate nominated if all the current government MPs voted along with the senators. The coalition will include the Move Forward Party (MFP), which emerged as the victor in Sunday’s General Election, and runner-up Pheu Thai.

Pongkwan Sawasdipakdi, a lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science at Thailand’s Thammasat University, said that the situation is “not very optimistic” for the opposition parties. The senators may not be willing to vote for the MFP, putting more pressure and responsibility on the MPs.

The opposition’s stunning win was not surprising, given that the Thai people have been wanting change. However, the Move Forward Party winning a majority was unexpected, considering their progressive agenda that included reforms of the military and the lese majeste law.

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Prof McCargo said…

“There’s a very, very big difference in worldview between people under 30 and people over 30, and their willingness to go along with what were considered to be traditional natural assumptions about the way Thailand should be organised is much, much less than it was in previous generations.”

Despite the support the opposition has gained, parties can be dissolved and MPs disbarred. Thailand has dissolved more political parties than any other country in the world over the past 20 years, and the MFP, Pheu Thai, or any of the other parties could be banned, reported Channel News Asia.

Prof McCargo also said…

“There are an awful lot of rather complicated, obscure and ambiguous regulations governing elections in Thailand, which would make it possible for charges to be brought.”

Sawasdipakdi noted that the final results will not be released anytime soon and that many things can still happen along the way.

We have the Senators, we have the Election Commission, we have the constitutional court. These are the mechanisms that can always come back to oppose the democratically elected government.

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Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

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