Thai coalition seeking to form government joins hands with pro-military parties

Bangkok, Aug 21 (EFE).- The multi-party coalition that is seeking to form the government in Thailand on Monday announced its alliance with two parties linked to the military, which had seized power in a coup in 2014 and continues to keep a firm grip on national politics.

Pheu Thai, the largest partner in the coalition and the second biggest party in terms of seats after the May 2023 elections, had been in power when it was ousted in a military coup over eight years ago.

Its leader Cholnan Srikaew on Monday announced an agreement with Palang Pracharat and United Thai Nation – the fourth and fifth largest parties respectively in terms of seats – in a press conference.

Both these parties had contested the May polls under the leadership of former military officers who led the coup.

Cholnan also offered details about the possible distribution of ministries if the alliance is able to form the government.

The coalition, which now includes 11 parties and holds 314 seats in the 500-member house of representatives, is expected to nominate 60-year-old construction magnate Srettha Thavisin as its prime ministerial candidate on Tuesday.

In order to get elected, Srettha needs to secure at least 375 votes in a bicameral parliament that also includes 249 unelected members of the Senate, handpicked in 2019 by the now defunct military junta as it restored democracy after ruling the country since 2014.

The parliamentary vote scheduled for Tuesday also coincides with the date announced by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for his return from self-exile after fleeing the Thai justice system. Thaksin is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok early on Tuesday.

In case he finally returns to the country, Thaksin, seen as the real brain behind Pheu Thai, faces up to 10 years in prison after being convicted in his absence on multiple charges, which he claims to be politically motivated.

Thailand is in a political deadlock after elections on May 14 following the unexpected victory of Move Forward, a progressive party that seeks to remove the military from power, and reduce the power of the monarchy.

Despite winning the highest number of seats, a coalition led by Move Forward – which also included Pheu Thai at the time – failed to form the government due to being blocked by the unelected Senate.

In the 2014 coup, the military had ousted the government of Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, who had won the 2011 elections at the helm of Pheu Thai and has also been living in self-exile after being removed from power. EFE


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