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Analysis, Politics

What are the likely and unlikely scenarios after Thailand’s election?

We look at several likely and unlikely scenarios that could take place after today’s election.


Written by

Updated: March 24, 2019

Thailand goes to vote for the first time since the military took power in May of 2014. Despite clear attempts to influence the election by the military, voters are turning out in huge numbers to make their voices heard. We look at several likely scenarios that could emerge after today.

 

Peu Thai and Allies win +376 seats
There is a small but possible chance that the Thaksin-aligned Peu Thai party will be able to nominate its choice of prime minister and form a government if they pull off a landslide victory and gain over 376 seats in the lower house. But getting 376 seats in the 500 seats is next to impossible and the new voting system makes it even more unlikely.

What would happen then?

Several possible outcomes are possible in this scenario. The first is that the junta backs off and finally fulfills one promise and lets the government govern. A more likely scenario is that the constitution court disbands Future Forward for breaking electoral laws and maybe even the Peu Thai party itself.

 

Peu Thai and Allies win 250 seats but not enough to nominate PM
The more likely scenario is that PT and Allies do win the majority in the lower house (250+ seats) but do not get enough to form a government. In this case there is an impasse and a lot of shady politicking may be done.

What would happen then?

There is a chance, like when the Democrat government was formed in the late noughties, where a Thaksin-backed party gains the parliamentary majority but is unable to gain enough seats to nominate the premier. In that case we may have a Prayuth as a prime minister but with a Peu Thai majority in parliament leading to a very weird, very Thai style democracy.

There is also a chance that neither side have the necessary votes to nominate a prime minister, in that case we’re likely going to see the junta not allow parliament to be open and govern until a second election.

What is most unlikely to happen is that Peu Thai somehow manage to reach across the aisle and form a grand coalition with the democrat party.

 

Prayuth becomes prime minister after military-backed parties gain enough seats

This is not a far-fetched outcome. All the junta needs is 126 seats in the lower house to nominate its choice of Prime Minister. While the Democrats promised not to join with any military proxy the party leadership said it does not speak for all democrats and we may see some defections to a military coalition.

What would happen then?

There are several scenarios here. The military may be able to nominate and confirm Prayuth but its highly unlikely that they would be able to govern effectively with a minority government. We may see another election called as soon as next year if that’s the case.

Of course, we may also see protests by people unhappy with the rigging of the election by the people. In this scenario we will have to see how many people actually take to the streets. If a critical mass is reached there have been talks of another coup carried out by a different faction of the military to restore order and overthrow the current junta.

 

A hung parliament with no meaningful alliance or Mass disqualification
If the democrats carry through their promise to not align with the military or Peu Thai, if the progressive Future Forward Party also keeps their promise to not align, we may have a hung parliament where no side has the majority or no prime minister is nominated. This is not the most likely of scenarios but a possibility.

Alternatively, the constitutional court may choose to disband Future Forward after the election, or the Electoral Commission may choose to red card enough MPs so that the minimum quorum of parliament may not be reached, and parliament cannot be opened.

What would happen then?

In this case, the military will likely continue to rule in the interim. With the coronation happening in May, a second election will be unlikely, and we may see the NCPO rule until the end of the year.



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About the Author: ANN’s current Chairman is Mr Warren Fernandez, who is also Editor-in-Chief of The Straits Times, Singapore. He is the current President of the World Editors Forum.

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