The Pheu Thai Party is currently negotiating with parties outside the existing coalition in a bid to form a government as a leader instead of the Move Forward Party.
Pheu Thai leader Chonlanan Srikaew on Saturday, July 22nd, 2023, revealed that the party was discussing potential partnerships with the Bhumjaithai Party and the Chart Thai Pattana Party to join the 8-party coalition.
The Bhumjaithai Party, led by Anutin Charnvirakul, the main supporter of marijuana legalization, came in third in Thailand’s May 14th election and currently has 71 MPs, while the Chart Thai Pattana Party, one of the small opposition parties, has 10 MPs.
After the negotiations, however, both Bhumjaithai and Chart Thai Pattana insisted that they will not join a coalition as long as the Move Forward Party is a part of it, citing their concerns about the party’s intention to amend the lese-majeste law, according to Chonlanan.
The Pheu Thai leader added that he is also in talks with the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party and the Palang Pracharath Party, both of whom also affirmed they will not join the coalition with Move Forward in it as they are also strongly opposed to any changes to the Lese Majeste law.
Ruam Thai Sang Chart, which backed current caretaker PM and former coup leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as the prime minister, also announced they will not vote for Pheu Thai’s PM candidate in the upcoming round of the PM voting on July 27th as long as Pheu Thai still allies with Move Forward.
In this situation, some Thai analysts and politicians suggested that Move Forward should be sacrificed and bounced from the coalition to be in the opposition, but Move Forward so far responded that the 8-party coalition should focus on helping each other solve the problems rather than forcing it to sacrifice.
The coalition, which is now led by Pheu Thai, has 312 votes, but it needs at least 375 votes from the joint Parliament to form a government.
Move Forward Party won the popular vote and the most seats in the recent Thai election but due to adamant opposition from military junta-appointed senators and the conservative establishment they were unable to form a government with their leader Pita at the helm.
This has outraged Move Forward supporters across the country who have asked to mobilize and protest against the junta-appointed senators but, so far, the protests have been fairly small, likely because many pro-democracy supporters identify themselves as supporters of Pheu Thai and want to wait and see if they can successfully form a government.
The most likely candidate for Prime Minister to be sent to Parliament for voting from Pheu Thai will be Srettha Thavisin, who we profile here.
The next Parliament Prime Minister vote is set for Thursday, July 27th, 2023.