Thailand: Pheu Thai tipped to win

  • The Pheu Thai Party is likely to come out on top with the most votes in the next general election but a win does not guarantee the party will succeed in forming a government, according to political scientists.
  • Pheu Thai has made Paetongtarn Shinawatra, a daughter of ex-prime minister Thaksin, the figurehead of the newly created “Pheu Thai Family” concept. In Mar 22, she announced in Udon Thani during her campaign launch that Pheu Thai would win a landslide victory in the next election and that she wanted to see regime change in Thailand.
  • Meanwhile, on 3 Apr 22, PPRP secretary-general Santi Promphat announced that the party has set a target of at least 150 seats in the House of Representatives at the next general election.
  • The main opposition party won the most seats in the 2019 general election, but it was the PPRP which came second that wooed the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties to its side and bested the Pheu Thai-led alliance for selection of the prime minister.
  • Phichai Ratnatilaka Na Bhuket, a political science lecturer at the National Institute of Development Administration, said under the two-ballot system to be introduced in the next poll, the Pheu Thai Party has a greater chance of winning the most votes.
  • Its popularity stands at 23%, while that of the PPRP has dropped from 12%-13% to 7%-8%. Moreover, with Pheu Thai policies seeming to strike a chord with voters and if its prime ministerial candidate has strong connections with its former leader, the party can draw a lot of votes.
  • “If Pheu Thai MPs in the northeastern and northern regions do not defect to other parties, the Pheu Thai Party is expected to retain its support base and win the majority of seats.”
  • Policy platforms, prime ministerial candidates and post-election potential political alliances are also key factors when people cast their votes.
  • The new composition of party-list and constituency MPs and the rising popularity of medium-sized parties such as the Bhumjaithai Party and the Move Forward Party could also affect Pheu Thai’s and the PPRP’s fortunes.
  • “As for its chances of leading the next government, let’s see how the Senate decides.”
  • The military is also another variable and a coup may take place if a Pheu Thai-led government is seen as a problem.
  • Wanwichit Boonprong, a political science lecturer at Rangsit University, further observed it is possible for the PPRP to win more seats than in the previous poll following the appointment of new executive members at a general assembly in Nakhon Ratchasima last weekend.

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