Scores of junta loyalists were endorsed as members of Thailand’s 250-strong senate yesterday, packing the upper house with allies likely to vote for coup leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha’s return as civilian premier after a highly disputed poll. The 250 members will vote alongside 500 elected lower house MPs to select the prime minister after parliament convenes in the coming weeks. With the senate in hand, junta-backed Palang Pracharat will need only 126 votes in the lower house for Prayut to sail to the top position. Anti-junta parties would require 376 votes to gain a majority in the 750-seat parliament and override the senate advantage. So far, the coalition led by junta rival Pheu Thai holds 245 seats. Horsetrading a for the remaining seats are under way.