Thai pro-democracy coalition faces obstacles amid conservative backlash

Image via Facebook; Pita Limjaroenrat, SPACEBAR

Pro-democracy parties in Thailand are facing resistance in their efforts to form a government following their historic win in the recent general election.

The Move Forward Party (MFP), led by prime ministerial candidate Pita Limjaroenrat, has expanded its coalition to eight parties with 313 members. However, to form a government without relying on the military-appointed Senate, the bloc needs 376 seats.

The Bhumjaithai party, which won 70 seats, has refused to back Pita’s bid for prime minister due to his plans to amend the lese majeste law, Section 112 of the Criminal Code. The uncertainty has led to foreign investors selling baht-denominated bonds and stocks, while the baht has fallen 1.6% against the dollar since Tuesday.

Pita Limjaroenrat, 42 years old, expressed confidence in securing the premiership, stating…

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“I’m confident we’ll have the votes to secure the premiership. There are no scenarios that we haven’t anticipated.”

However, the MFP’s coalition may be at risk if conservative parties, holding around 180 seats in the lower house, secure the backing of the majority of the Senate, reports Bangkok Post.

The MFP has stated it will not back down from its vow to amend the lese majeste law, but analysts suggest the party may need to soften its stance to gain support from senators or conservative parties. Pheu Thai, a party backed by exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, may join with other parties if Pita fails to form a government.

Napon Jatusripitak, a research fellow at the Singapore-based ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, said…

“Due to the number of seats that Pheu Thai holds, any viable coalition must include it in the political equation. The same cannot be said for the Move Forward Party, which is less flexible.”

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