No political vacuum following May 14 election, says deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam addressed concerns regarding the potential for political deadlock following the May 14 General Election. Despite foreseeing a delay in the formation of a new government, he dismissed the possibility of a political vacuum emerging.

Wissanu’s remarks come as polls indicate that leading parties are continually growing closer in terms of popularity. While he acknowledges that a party winning the majority of House seats could establish a new government, he mentioned certain uncertainties could result in the winning party gaining fewer seats. In this case, the victorious party would need to work towards forming a coalition government.

Wissanu also commented on the rising political tension leading up to election day. The fierce competition is not unusual, as every party aims to attract as much attention as possible. Regarding rumours of pre-election alliances, Wissanu explained that such talks typically do not commence until the night of the unofficial election results.

He highlighted the 2019 General Election as an example of how immediate post-election alliances can change drastically once the official election results are announced two months later. Should two parties earn a nearly equal number of House seats and fail to agree on government formation and prime minister selection, Wissanu said that Section 270 of the constitution offers clear guidance for such situations.

Although no exact deadline is imposed for the selection of a new prime minister, Wissanu assured that an eventual resolution would be found. He stated…

“There will never be a political vacuum, as some fear. But it [the prime minister selection] might take a little longer.”

Legally, the Election Commission must announce the official election results within 60 days after the polls. However, the commission typically shares the results after 45 days. Wissanu acknowledged that it is difficult to predict when the new prime minister selection and subsequent government formation will be completed, as the constitution allows repeated selection attempts in case of a stalemate.

In the event of a political deadlock, Wissanu assured that the caretaker government can maintain its role until a new government is formed. He cited Section 169 of the constitution, which permits the caretaker government to utilise the central budget.

Wissanu said it was too early to determine whether the situation following the 2019 election, when the Palang Pracharath Party formed a new government despite obtaining fewer House seats than Pheu Thai, would repeat itself.

“We don’t anticipate that will ever happen again. We expect to see a new government that holds a majority of House seats in hand right from the beginning. And that’s what every party expects.”

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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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