MFP predicted to form coalition government with Pheu Thai

Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat before yesterday’s general election. Picture courtesy of Sanook.

Academics predict that the Move Forward Party (MFP) is likely to form a government coalition with the Pheu Thai Party and other smaller parties following the recent Thai election. Their assessment comes after the Election Commission (EC) began counting votes when polling stations closed.

As the counting continued, MFP led in both the constituency and party-list races, followed by Pheu Thai and Bhumjaithai. According to the EC, unofficial results were expected later that evening.

Wanwichit Boonprong, a political science lecturer at Rangsit University, cited the Suan Dusit Poll findings, which showed that MFP and Pheu Thai could form a coalition without support from the Senate and the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP). He noted that the liberal parties had won a victory over the conservatives as a result of new-generation voters seeking change.

Boonprong stated that an MFP victory will not trigger a coup, but the party must compromise on certain conditions, especially economic policies. For defence matters, he suggested MFP should hand the portfolio to Pheu Thai to liaise with conservatives.

Olarn Thinbangtieo, a political science lecturer at Burapha University, agreed, predicting that MFP and Pheu Thai could form a coalition with MFP leader Pita Limcharoenrat becoming the new prime minister.

However, Pheu Thai may need to make concessions to MFP, which could impact the planned return of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Alternatively, Pheu Thai could refuse to form a coalition with MFP, opting for PPRP instead.

Phichai Ratnatilaka Na Bhuket, programme director for politics and development strategy at the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida), also held similar views. The most likely coalition, he explained, would be made up of MFP and Pheu Thai. If they fail to gather enough MP support, they may need to include other parties like the Chartthaipattana Party.

Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), suggested that a new government led by major opposition parties would likely implement new policies, like increasing the daily minimum wage, and continue with successful economic development plans from previous governments.

Concerns were raised that this increase in minimum wage could hurt labour-intensive businesses, raising operating costs during a period of global uncertainty. Thiennukul warned that if the wage increase policy were not gradually enforced, some companies might consider relocating production bases to neighbouring countries.

The FTI chairman also highlighted the importance of continuing key economic policies like the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development scheme, as both the government and business sectors have already invested heavily in the infrastructure of the EEC zone. This area, covering parts of Chon Buri, Rayong, and Chachoengsao, is part of a proposed high-tech industrial hub and has the potential to be a significant driver of Thailand’s economy.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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