Thailand: Prayut set to retain grip on top job

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is highly likely to reclaim premiership after the number of House seats won by the Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) in the election defied all expectations even though the Pheu Thai (PT) Party, its major rival, won the most seats.
  • Of the 93% of unofficial poll results announced by the Election Commission (EC), PT won the most seats in the constituency system with 125 while the PPRP came in second on 97, followed by the Bhumjaithai Party (39), the Democrat Party (29) and the Future Forward Party (FFP) (26) as of press time.
  • However, the unofficial results showed PPRP leading with 7.1 million votes, followed by PT (6.9 million), FFP (4.4 million), Bhumjaithai (2.6 million) and the Democrat Party (2.1 million). As such, the PPRP is likely to win a higher number of party-list seats than PT, based on the mixed-member proportional representation method used.
  • A PT source said key figures were surprised at the number of votes won by the PPRP. As a result, PT had not yet contacted other parties to form a government as it wanted to wait for the full unofficial outcome first.
  • If parties which belong to the pro-democracy camp cannot muster more than half of the 500 seats, it will be difficult for PT to form a government and the PPRP must be allowed to form a government instead as it has more bargaining power, the source said.
  • Meanwhile, political observers noted that the Democrat Party disappointed hugely after it won only 29 constituency seats as of press time and lost all its seats in Bangkok to the PPRP and FFP. Democrat Party’s leader Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned on 24 Mar 19.
  • Although Mr Abhisit recently announced he personally would not support Gen Prayut regaining power – he also ruled out cooperating with the PT. However, the party is likely to work with the PPRP eventually since it would need to come up with a resolution on who the party should support as PM.
  • PT’s chief strategist Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan insisted the party would not work with political parties rooting for PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and repeated her call for the 250 appointed senators, to be appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), to respect the voters’ mandate. In a related development, PT secretary-general Phumtham Vechayachai said the election was abnormal as several of PT’s provincial branch offices were “visited and checked by state officials”.
  • Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) president Ittiporn Boonpracong concluded on 24 Mar 19 that 65.96% of eligible voters had turned up to exercise their right, and postponed the announcement of initial election results to 25 Mar 19 after 90% of the votes had been counted.

External Link: https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/1650496/prayut-set-to-retain-grip-on-top-job

External Link: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30366487

25-Mar-2019


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