BANGKOK – A seven-party coalition, opposed to the military junta that has been governing Thailand since a coup in 2014, announced on Wednesday its intention to form a government after the elections held on March 24.
Leaders and members of the executives of six of the seven parties announced the coalition at a joint press conference, amid confusion caused by the fact that the Election Commission has not yet released the final results of the polls.
Sudarat Keyuraphan, the leader of the main opposition Puea Thai party, said that the parties of the coalition have 255 seats, which are enough to form a majority government in the parliament’s 500-member lower house.
“We consider that the democratic parties have been given a mandate by the people and we will work to put an end to the power of the NCPO (National Council for Peace and Order),” Sudarat said.
The Puea Thai party, founded by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a coup in 2006 and currently in exile, has joined with Anakot Mai (“Future Forward”), a new progressive party which received the third highest number of votes in the elections on Sunday, according to the results published so far, and another five parties, including another two that are loyal to Shinawatra.
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the leader of Anakot Mai, said that the next prime minister should belong to the party with the most votes and expressed his support for Sudarat.
He also invited other parties to join the coalition and asked the Election Commission to reveal the full results.
The spokesperson for the pro-military Palang Pracharat, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, reportedly rejected the anti-junta coalition’s announcement.
“We have the legitimacy to form a majority government and support Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha as the [next] prime minister,” Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said, according to the Bangkok Post. “What’s more important, we won the most number of votes, about 8 million of them.”
Although the coalition could count on a majority of seats in the lower house, the election of the prime minister will also depend on the vote of the 250 members of the Senate, handpicked by the military junta and who in principle would choose to vote for ex-general Prayuth Chan-Ocha, behind the coup of 2014 and candidate of the Palang Pracharat party.
On Monday, the Election Commission postponed the announcement of the complete results after saying that Puea Thai was leading in seats, and announced that it would not be able to announce the final results until May 9.
The same day, the commission also released unofficial results of 350 constituency seats without confirming the number of votes per party, which are necessary to determine the allocation of the remaining 150 seats.
The Pheu Thai Party looks to have obtained the highest number of seats with 137, followed by Phalang Pracharat with 118 and Anakot Mai with 87, according to local media reports based on information published by the EC.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Prawit Wongsuwan, dismissed the announcement by Pheu Thai and its pro-democracy allies, the Bangkok Post said.
“They can talk, but the EC (Election Commission) has not officially announced the election results. Wait until after May 9,” Gen Prawit said. “Our plan is that the government will be formed after the royal ceremonies.”
Both the United States and the European Union have issued statements calling on Thailand to ensure that any allegations of irregularities in the voting are resolved in a transparent manner.