MFP’s electoral surprise puts Thai businesses on edge

  • Thailand’s private sector raised concerns after the results of 14 May’s elections pointed the country toward a political void, with the progressive party that won the most seats not winning nearly enough to easily assemble a ruling coalition.
  • Some businesses are pulling for the Move Forward Party to put together a government quickly enough to ensure political stability. They are also crossing their fingers that the populist party forms a government that continues key economic projects and smoothly passes a budget bill, steps that could go a long way toward inspiring confidence among foreign investors.
  • “The longer it takes for a government to take shape,” said Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), “the more confidence in Thailand’s economy will fall.” The FTI is conducting a “position paper” containing business concerns and suggestions to be presented to the new government. The biggest concern right now the continuity of policies, particularly in regard to the current budget bill.
  • The previous cabinet had approved in principle a THB3.35tn budget for FY24, and the bill is due to be put up for a vote by the new parliament, which is expected to convene for the first time in Jul 23 after the Election Commission (EC) endorses the official election results.
  • Other key business executives and think tank analysts were concerned that a Move Forward-led government would make good on campaign promises to the detriment of the Thai economy. They are especially wary of cash handouts that all parties promised ahead of the elections. Making good on MFP’s promises alone would run up bills of THB650bn, according to Move Forward deputy leader Sirikanya Tansakul.

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