MFP’s support for Pheu Thai sparks coalition speculation

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Move Forward Party (MFP) has recently shown a surprisingly empathetic stance towards the ruling Pheu Thai Party, sparking accusations that their previous antagonism may have been an act.

Observers have noted two key developments suggesting a possible reconciliation between the two largest parties, following Pheu Thai’s earlier decision to abandon a post-election promise to form a government with MFP.

Instead of partnering with MFP, Pheu Thai aligned with conservative parties, including Bhumjaithai, Palang Pracharath, and United Thai Nation, excluding MFP from the coalition. MFP had the opportunity to nominate its leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, as premier with Pheu Thai’s support, but the Senate rejected Pita’s bid outright.

Allegations surfaced about a secret meeting in Hong Kong involving influential political figures from Pheu Thai and MFP, discussing the possibility of MFP replacing the conservative bloc in the coalition if necessary. Initially, scepticism surrounded the so-called “Hong Kong deal.” However, a shift in MFP’s approach towards the Pheu Thai-led coalition has since lent credibility to these claims.

Recently, MFP withdrew from the provincial administrative organisation (PAO) chairman race in Pathum Thani, a move that puzzled supporters and political observers. Pathum Thani is a stronghold for MFP, where they secured a clean sweep in last year’s general election. The withdrawal left Pheu Thai’s candidate as the likely winner.

MFP list MP Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn lamented the wasted years due to military coups.

“It’s a pity that the people of the current generation are finding their ageing serves no useful purpose. Their time has been lost because of the coups.”

Wiroj referred to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, mentioning the 2006 protests that led to Thaksin’s ousting. Thaksin, who fled before being convicted of abuse of power in 2008, received a royal pardon last year, reducing his jail term from eight years to one year and is now on parole.

Wiroj’s comments, interpreted as sympathetic to Thaksin who still wields significant influence over Pheu Thai, along with MFP’s Pathum Thani PAO race withdrawal, fuelled speculation of a potential MFP-Pheu Thai coalition. However, MFP leader Chaithawat Tulathon dismissed these rumours, asserting that the two parties remain direct competitors.

Political observers note that MFP has strategic reasons to play hard to get. A survey by King Prajadhipok’s Institute indicated MFP’s rising popularity, projecting more than 200 seats in the next election, significantly outpacing Pheu Thai, reported Bangkok Post.

Bangkok NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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