On 5 April, Thailand’s opposition Phieu Thai Party announced at a rally that the party would not join the pro-military Palang Prakarath Party (PPRP) in forming a coalition government after next month’s general election, despite rumors to the contrary. The party was aiming to reassure supporters and said it aimed to win at least 310 of the 500 seats in parliament. Several polls report that Phi Phi is the most popular choice to lead the Thai government, with at least 35 percent support.
However, the question remains whether the party can form a single-party government or even get the seat of the Prime Minister. Despite the prospect of emerging with the largest share of parliamentary seats – the party and its predecessors have done so in every Thai election since 2001 – the party will face several challenges in forming a government, including the fact that 250 will vote to elect the unelected senators. Given the party’s association with exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the next prime minister, and Phieu Thai are unlikely to support the chosen candidate.
As per the 2017 constitution, candidates for the post of prime minister are not required to contest elections. Political parties may nominate up to three candidates with the Election Commission of Thailand before election day. Only candidates whose party wins at least 25 parliamentary seats are eligible for consideration. As of 2024, the selection of prime minister is open to both the 500 MPs in the lower house and the 250 members of the Senate, thus, to win the prime ministership, candidates must secure the support of 376 members of both houses of parliament. The Pheu Thai Party’s (PTP) “landslide strategy” of aiming to win at least 310 seats in the lower house, with the support of other opposition parties, would allow the party to claim a clear victory and appoint a PM despite being short. Support from the appointed senate. Can the PTP, the party with the highest potential for electoral victory, achieve this landslide goal of forming a one-party government and winning the post of prime minister? If not, what are other possible election outcomes?
It is not an easy task for PTP to win 310 seats. According to recent media interviews with senior party members, the PTP announced this strategy based on its victories in the 2001 and 2005 elections, in which the party won 248 seats and 377 seats, respectively. However, the only major alternative party in those elections was the Democrat Party. There were no clear choices on the liberal or conservative sides of the political spectrum.
In 2023, however, the electoral battleground is crowded. Major conservative parties include the Democrats, the United Thai Nation Party, which supports Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as its prime ministerial candidate, Palang Pracharath, led by General Prawit Wongsuwan, and the Bhumjaithai Party, Charanvirakul under the leadership of Health Minister Anutin. On the moderate side are the PTP, the Move Forward Party, the Thai Sang Thai Party, led by former Phieu Thai prime ministerial candidate Sudarat Keyuraphan, and the Seri Rum Thai Party, led by Seripisut Temiawet.
The sheer number of options available to voters will make it difficult for Phieu Thai to capture a landslide. Without a clear victory, it may be forced to form a coalition government with other parties from the moderate side, including Seri Ruam Thai and so forth. However, the PTP may need to consider this option carefully in relation to its policy of moving forward on the reform of Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, Article 112.
In addition to the above option, the PTP may join political parties from the conservative group, including Palang Pracharatha and Bhumjaithai. The PPRP has led the government under Prayut since 2019, and has held the prime ministerial post despite being only the second largest party in parliament with the support of 250 appointed senators. By joining the PPRP, Phu Thai could potentially garner support from the Senate. However, this may not result in Pheu Thai as prime minister, as the PPRP’s candidate, Prawit Wongsuwan, would prefer to become prime minister than back down from the PTP.
Prior to the 2019 general election, Pravit had a hand in selecting the 250 appointed senators, which would likely promote him over any PTP candidate. While a PTP–PPRP alliance is possible, as noted above, senior members of Phu Thai have announced their intention to set up a government without the PPRP, calling on supporters to win overwhelmingly. But PPRP has other advantages as well. Given his charisma and cross-sectional connections, Prawit could help the PTP form a stable government as well as pave the way for the return of Thaksin Shinawatra, one of the most influential and controversial figures in recent Thai political history. Can
During campaign debates, leaders of other conservative parties have insisted that if parties can form a coalition government with more than 250 seats, those parties should be allowed to govern the country, raising the possibility that Adding that there may not be a party winning the largest number of seats. Form the government, as happened in 2019. If the PTP fails to form a coalition government again after this election, there is a good chance that it will allow the second largest party to form a government, perhaps in the same conservative patchwork coalition formed after the last election. That month, photos of Bhoomjaithai Party leader Anutin Charanvirakul having lunch with Praveeth were released to the media, indicating a possible post-election collaboration between the two parties.
In response to the PTP’s 5 April announcement that it would not join forces with the PPRP after the election, PPRP’s deputy party leader Paiboon Nithitawan similarly insisted in a press conference that his party was disbanding due to disagreement with several PTP policies. Will not form government with Phieu Thai. , The statement may have been made to appeal to conservative voters who oppose the pro-Thaksin and liberal parties. On the other hand, Paiboon’s message undermines the PPRP’s claim to have transcended past conflicts in Thai politics, emphasizing the party’s willingness to work with a wide range of parties after the election.
The PPRP hopes its motto will lift it from the struggle between conservative and pro-democracy forces that has shaped Thai politics over the past two decades. The 2023 election is likely to repeat the conflict. Phu Thai is expected to win the largest number of seats in parliament, as it and its predecessor parties have won in every election since 2001.