Thai election winner excluded from govt coalition

Bangkok, Aug 2 (EFE).- Progressive party Move Forward, winner of the Thai elections, was excluded Wednesday from the coalition of pro-democratic parties that seek to form a government, after two failed attempts due to a parliamentary blockade.

Chonlanan Srikaew, leader of the Pheu Thai party – which came second in the May elections – said at a press conference that Move Forward is no longer part of the group of eight pro-democratic parties with the majority of seats in the parliament’s lower house.

The coalition has so far failed to form a government after Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat was twice blocked by opposition from the senate, an unelected chamber whose 250 members were chosen by the former military junta after it reformed the constitution.

Both the 500 elected lower house members and the 250 handpicked senators participate in the prime minister’s selection.

The unexpected May electoral victory by Move Forward, a progressive formation that seeks to separate the military from the power they have held for more than a decade, caused a political earthquake in Thailand.

The electoral promise to reform the draconian law that protects the monarchy from all criticism is the main obstacle Move Forward faces when it comes to forming a government, according to many of the senators who opposed Pita’s candidacy.

The leader of the Pheu Thai formation justified the decision Wednesday to remove Move Forward from the coalition over their support for the reform of the royal defamation law, which punishes monarchy critics with up to 15 years in prison.

This decision could unblock the political quagmire and facilitate the formation of a government by the Pheu Thai, which will present construction magnate Srettha Thavisin as its candidate for prime minister.

The Pheu Thai leader avoided specifying whether they will include other political parties in the new coalition, while a bicameral session could be scheduled Friday to choose the next president.

The announcement came as a noisy caravan of Move Forward supporters was driving down some of Bangkok’s main avenues to show their support for the progressive group.

The colorful and peaceful march, with proclamations in favor of democracy and where the orange color – which identifies Move Forward – predominated, ended without incident at the Pheu Thai headquarters. EFE


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