Thai parliament opens with uncertainty over next PM

(Update: adds election of speaker, minor edits)

Bangkok, Jul 3 (EFE).- The 500 members of Thailand’s lower house held the inaugural session of the legislature Monday amid the lingering uncertainty of who will be appointed prime minister.

King Vajiralongkorn presided over the opening of the chamber where a coalition of anti-military parties, who have dominated the country’s political life for the past decade, has a large majority.

The progressive Move Forward party, the surprising winner of the recent elections, heads the coalition together with seven other groups, with which they have 312 seats and which intends to name its leader Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister.

However, the Senate, with 250 members handpicked by the former military junta, is also participating in the election of the next prime minister.

Move Forward, with a policy aimed at democratic reform of the country’s institutions, is not popular with a large part of the senators, making it difficult for Pita to take power.

During coalition negotiations, the first disagreements between the main partners began to emerge: Move Forward, which won 151 parliamentarians in the elections, and Pheu Thai, with 141 seats.

Both parties had wanted to appoint a member of their own ranks as speaker of parliament, but they reached an agreement to choose a delegate from a third party, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, the leader of Prachachart, one of the pro-democracy coalition groups.

The session to elect the prime minister could be held in the middle of this month, according to a calendar published by local media. EFE


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