Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Seven Thai political parties form coalition to thwart junta




Seven Thai political parties form coalition to thwart junta

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Leaders of Thai political parties show signed documents during a press conference in Bangkok on Wednesday. LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP

Seven Thai political parties form coalition to thwart junta

SEVERAL anti-junta parties formed a coalition in Thailand on Wednesday, vowing to thwart a military-backed party in a bid to end years of junta rule following the country’s first vote since a 2014 coup.

Thai politics are deadlocked after Sunday’s vote, with two main rival parties claiming the right to govern amid allegations of ballot irregularities and the full official results yet to be released.

Seven anti-junta parties, led by the Pheu Thai Party, said they would join forces, claiming to win enough parliamentary seats to form a government and sideline military-backed allies led by the Phalang Pracharat Party.

“We want to stop the regime from hanging on to power,” Pheu Thai’s prime ministerial candidate Sudarat Keyuraphan said at a press conference on Wednesday announcing the coalition.

The bloc of seven – which includes the youth-focused Future Forward Party that did surprisingly well in the elections – claimed it would take 255 out of the 500 lower house seats that are up for grabs.

“It is a complete process of setting up a government,” said Future Forward’s telegenic billionaire leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

Pheu Thai has won every election since 2001 and is affiliated with self-exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin’s sister Yingluck was herself ousted in the 2014 putsch, and is also living in self-exile.

The newly-formed coalition said it wanted to usher in an era of pro-democracy politics following Sunday’s vote.

“We will cooperate with parties that are at this press conference today no matter what obstacles ahead . . . we are ready to stop the regime from holding on to power,” Thanathorn told reporters.

The military-backed Phalang Pracharat, led by junta chief and prime ministerial candidate Prayut Chan-O-Cha, won the popular vote with 7.6 million ballots in its favour – 400,000 more votes than Pheu Thai.

Phalang Pracharat has also said it expects to secure more than half of all seats in the lower house.

The balance of power is stacked in favour of the junta due to a charter it drafted creating 250 military-appointed upper house seats.

That means non-military parties like Pheu Thai need an avalanche of votes in order to vote in a prime minister.

The Election Commission has unexpectedly delayed releasing official results, and questions are now swirling over election irregularities, with an election monitor saying the tabulation was “deeply flawed”.

Nearly two million invalidated ballots, weak polling oversight and bungling by election authorities may have wildly skewed initial numbers.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara