Prayut’s political career uncertain as United Thai Nation suffers election losses

Photo Courtesy Channel News Asia

Bangkok’s Deputy leader of the United Thai Nation, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, expressed doubt yesterday over whether Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will continue his political career after their party’s losses in the General Election. Wangboonkongchana mentioned that 69 year old Prayut has not discussed his future plans, but he may have to step down from politics.

The preliminary results from Thailand’s Election Commission show rival parties Move Forward Party (MFP) and Pheu Thai Party leading the electoral race. The MFP secured 152 seats, followed by the Pheu Thai Party with 141 seats, while the United Thai Nation Party ranked fifth with 36 seats.

Wangboonkongchana praised Prayut’s service as prime minister for over eight years, stating…

“I believe Thai people nationwide know he has done so much for the country and that he has never been tainted by anything – no corruption whatsoever.”

Prayut became prime minister in 2014 after leading a coup d’etat to overthrow Yingluck Shinawatra’s democratically elected government. His military junta ruled Thailand for nearly five years before a General Election was held in 2019 under a new constitution written by a military-appointed committee.

Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader and prime ministerial candidate of the MFP, announced yesterday that he has enough support from political allies to form a majority government. The coalition includes five opposition parties and a newcomer – the Fair Party. Together, they have 310 Members of Parliament (MPs), which is more than half of the 500-seat House of Representatives.

However, there is still uncertainty about whether the MFP can form the next government and who will win the premiership. The selection of the prime minister under Thailand’s current constitution involves both the House of Representatives and the 250-member Senate – the upper house of Parliament.

The senators were selected and appointed in 2019 by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – the military government led by Prayut following his coup in 2014. For a candidate to become prime minister, the person must be approved by more than half of the combined assembly.

This means the MFP needs to consolidate at least 376 votes for Pita to win the premiership and form the government. Following the last General Election in 2019, all but one senator voted for Prayut’s premiership, reported Channel News Asia.

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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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