Thailand: Unity govt ‘same as a dictatorship,’ parties say

  • Political observers note Thai politics may be moving toward an impasse as two major parties, the pro-regime Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and the Pheu Thai Party, compete fiercely to form a coalition government.
  • The PPRP, with the support of 250 appointed senators under its wing, is believed to have an advantage over its rival. The senators will play a crucial role in the parliamentary vote to select a Prime Minister (PM), potentially returning incumbent PM Prayut Chan-o-cha back to Government House. However, without a decisive majority, a PPRP-led coalition government may struggle to function.
  • Meanwhile, Pheu Thai may prove successful in gathering seats to form a coalition, but the number of MPs in its camp would not substantially outnumber that of its rival. As such, a Pheu Thai coalition would likely face the same fate.
  • The idea of a national government has been floated, which is one that is made up of all parties that won Member of Parliament (MP) seats in the latest poll and one that would leave no opposition in parliament so as effectively creating a vacuum where a system of checks and balances should be.
  • However, Future Forward Party (FFP)’s spokeswoman Pannika Wanich on 15 Apr 19 confirmed the party’s opposition to a national unity government, claiming it would be in breach of the constitution which stipulates there must be an opposition, adding that if all parties were to join forces and form one government with no countering force to scrutinise them, it would be tantamount to a dictatorship.
  • She suggested an alternative, saying that one way would be trying to gather the support of other parties to achieve a majority of at least 251 MPs.
  • On the flipside, Somsak Thepsuthin, head of the PPRP’s election campaign panel, said he did not expect to see a lasting political deadlock as the parties will eventually adjust to the circumstances and come together to work for the country.
  • Meanwhile, a new poll showed that 76.5% of respondents agreed parties would not benefit from fielding the same old faces for prime minister or a non-elected outsider prime minister.

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