Thailand: Warring Thai Political Parties Open to Cooperating Against Junta

  • Thailand’s two major political parties, which have battled viciously over the past decade, are open to joining hands after the next election to blunt the power of unelected officials.
  • In separate interviews last week, a top leader of the Pheu Thai party affiliated with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Democrat party head Abhisit Vejjajiva didn’t rule out an alliance after the election planned for Feb 19, if certain conditions were met.
  • While any collaboration would be fragile, Pheu Thai and the Democrat party may have a common interest in preventing unelected members of parliament from installing Prayuth or another military figure as premier after the vote. Under a constitution written after the last coup – Thailand has had about a dozen military takeovers since 1932 – a 250-member Senate appointed by the junta will have a say in picking the next prime minister.
  • Chaturon Chaisang, a prominent Pheu Thai member, said he expects Pheu Thai to win the most seats in the election. Although it would be “very difficult” for Pheu Thai and the Democrats to join hands, he said, at the same time it would be challenging for a single party to gain a majority under the current electoral system.
  • Abhisit, who led Thailand from 2008 to 2011, said that the 250 senators should respect the will of the people in picking the prime minister.

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