Thailand’s election winner announces pro-democracy coalition

Bangkok, May 18 (EFE).- The Thai political party that took out a surprise victory in the country’s weekend general election has formed a coalition with seven other pro-democracy opposition parties, its leader announced Thursday.

Pita Limjaroenrat told a news conference in Bangkok alongside representatives of the other parties that his “coalition is firmly taking shape.”

“There will be a Memorandum of Understanding, which will be finalized on May 22 – a symbolic day marking the ninth anniversary of the coup by incumbent PM Prayut (Chan-ocha).”

Move Forward won a resounding victory in Sunday’s polls, where the opposition parties were the big winners, taking more than 60 percent of the votes against military-backed parties, in power for almost a decade since Prayut led his 2014 coup.

The coalition is made up of eight parties that would obtain 313 seats, below the 376 votes required to govern. It remains uncertain whether the winning opposition bloc will be able to form a government because in addition, the 250 members of the Senate, hand-picked by the former military junta, also vote for the new prime minister.

But Pita said he is confident that the bloc can form a government and the alliance will now establish a committee to negotiate in the coming weeks, both with the other parties and with the senators, as well as to solve possible discrepancies between the partners.

“There’s momentum, there’s progress and we have a very clear road map from today, working teams to sort out any differences to make sure of the continuation,” he said.

However, Pita was emphatic in reaffirming that the coalition will not negotiate with parties aligned with the military or belonging to that system, saying “it’s been very clear we have a consensus excluding the establishment.”

One of the main barriers to stronger support for Pita as prime minister is disagreement over Move Forward’s promise to reform the controversial lese majeste law, which provides for up to 15 years in jail for anyone who insults members of the royal family.

The opposition leader confirmed that there are several perspectives on the issue among the allied parties and that a lot of talks were held on the subject during coalition negotiations.

“It’s pretty clear how we are going to approach the relationship between the monarchy and the people of Thailand,” he said. EFE


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