May 18, 2023
BANGKOK – Even though Move Forward Party won Sunday’s general election with 152 seats, that won’t be enough for party leader Pita to become Thailand’s 30th prime minister.
Pita will need a majority of at least 376 votes from the 500-seat House of Representatives, to nullify the 250 votes from the junta-appointed Senate.
The four scenarios for the next government’s formation are as follows:
Completely liberal government with Pita as PM
Under this formula, Pita would lead a coalition of 310 MPs from Move Forward (152), Pheu Thai (141), Prachachat (9) Thai Sang Thai (6), Sereeruamthai (1) and Fair parties (1).
Move Forward is already reportedly in talks with these parties to ensure the junta-appointed Senate does not block its move to form a government. However, it needs another 66 MP seats to ensure Pita gets the top job.
Nullifying the Senate with Pita as PM
This formula gives a total of 380 MPs drawn from Move Forward (152), Pheu Thai (141), Prachachat (9) Thai Sang Thai (6), Sereeruamthai (1) Fair (1) – plus Bhumjaithai (70).
This scenario would guarantee that Pita becomes the next PM. However, negotiations to form this coalition would face obstacles as Move Forward and Bhumjaithai have previously refused to cooperate due to conflict during past debates.
Revival of a conservative government with Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul as PM
This formula gives a minority government of 183 MPs – from Bhumjaithai (70), Palang Pracharath (40), United Thai Nation (36), Democrat (25), Chart Thai Pattana (10) and Chart Pattana Kla (2).
This scenario was proposed before the May 14 general election under the assumption that there would be no way for government coalition parties to win more seats than opposition parties.
To cope with the opposition’s overwhelming victory, government coalition parties would take advantage of the 250 Senate votes to get their PM candidate elected and form a minority government.
Neo-conservative government with a Pheu Thai candidate as PM
This formula gives a total of 288 MPs from Pheu Thai (141), Bhumjaithai (70), Palang Pracharath (40), the Democrats (25), Chart Thai Pattana (10) and Chart Pattana Kla (2).
Pheu Thai Family head Paetongtarn Shinawatra or property tycoon Srettha Thavisin could be chosen as the next PM.
However, this scenario is seen as least likely as Pheu Thai has already promised not to join hands with Palang Pracharath.
But if it were to become a reality, Thai politics would transform into a battle between neo-conservatives led by Pheu Thai and liberals led by Move Forward.