Thailand’s pro-army Palang Pracharat party was yesterday looking for coalition partners from a wide field of potential allies as it seeks to keep military junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led a 2014 coup, in office as prime minister.
The party is expected to easily form the next government, since it needs only a few more votes in the elected House of Representatives to choose the prime minister under complicated new electoral rules written by the military regime.
Palang Pracharat is expected to be joined by the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties as well as 11 other smaller parties that are not affiliated with either the pro-army camp or the Democratic Front of parties opposing the military, said Yuttaporn Issarachai, a political scientist from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University,
“Prayuth will certainly be prime minister,” under this scenario, he said, but he added that the government would likely be unstable, with only a slim majority in the House.
Leaders of the Democratic Front have cried foul and threatened legal action, saying both the electoral system and the Election Commission were biased toward extending the military regime.
Election officials and Palang Pracharat deny the accusation.
The Democratic Front of seven parties is led by the Pheu Thai party loyal to exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.
Pro-Thaksin parties had won every election since then but each time saw its governments ousted by legal rulings and coups.
In the latest intervention, the military in 2014 toppled a government that had been led by Thaksin’s sister.
It still could be weeks before a new government is formed, even though the pro-junta party is in a favourable position.