Leader of the Move Forward party Pita Limjaroenrat announced on Monday that his party is ready to form a coalition government with five former opposition parties and one new party, with a total of 309 seats in Parliament and himself as Prime Minister.
Pita whose party won the most seats in the lower house (House of Representatives) said at May 15th’s press conference that he had already contacted Paetongtarn Shinawatra, PM candidate for the Pheu Thai party, to congratulate her and invited her to join a coalition.
Paetongtarn, in return, congratulated Move Forward and later revealed to media that Pheu Thai would not compete with Move Forward against forming a coalition government, confirming her party is committed to respecting the people’s voices.
Pita revealed that the three other parties he intended to join forces with were the Thai Sang Thai, Prachachart, and Seri Ruam Thai parties, all of which used to fight alongside Move Forward in a former opposition camp.
Another party was the Pen Tham, or the Fair Party, which had one party-list MP. Pen Tham had arduously fought for peace in the three southernmost border provinces of Thailand, he said.
With the six planned parties, the new coalition government would have 308 MPs combined, which was enough to be a majority government, Pita said. TPN notes, however, this amount alone would not be able to possibly stand against a senate challenge on Pita as PM. The Senate is unelected and military appointed and also has a vote for PM.
He also revealed that the parties would have to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) so that the Thai people would see what would happen to the country in the next 100 days and the year ahead.
To uphold its campaign pledge, Pita emphasized that Move Forward would not form alliances with either the Palang Pracharath or the Ruam Thai Sang Chart parties which had former deputy PM Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and former PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as premier candidates, respectively.
As for Bhumjaithai, which got third place in the Thai election and 70 MP’s, it is unclear which direction the party will go but at this time Pita is not including them in the coalition. Bhumjaithai is led by Anutin Charnvirakul, cannabis proponent and caretaker Public Health Minister.
If Bhumjaithai were able to settle differences with Move Forward and join, the coalition would have enough votes to defeat the Senate alone, without needing any Senate members to switch votes.
However, Bhumjaithai and MFP have many policy differences, such as cannabis and Lese Majeste reform, and Anutin’s role in the former government would be problematic for the new government.
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