Thailand’s opposition racked up a majority of the 500 seats at stake in the race for the House of Representatives, dealing a major blow to the establishment parties and the former general who led the country since seizing power in a 2014 coup.
The results of Sunday’s general election are a strong repudiation of the its conservatives and reflect the disenchantment in particular of young voters who want to limit the influence of the military in politics and reform the monarchy.
But the exact shape of the new government is less clear as post-election coalition talks and behind-the-scene negotiations take centre stage. Thailand’s two main opposition parties agreed on Monday to form a ruling coalition after they trounced in the election.
The Move Forward Party emerged as the big winner. It captured a projected 151 seats in the lower House by winning over 24 per cent of the popular vote for 400 constituency seats, and over 36 per cent of the 100 seats allocated by proportional representation.
Tailing a close second is the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, whose combined seat total is projected at 141.
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The party of incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army general who came to power in the 2014 coup, held the fifth spot in the constituency vote and third in the party-preference tally, for a projected total of 36 seats.
Who becomes the next prime minister will depend on a vote set for July that includes all the House lawmakers plus the
250-seat military-appointed Senate, whose members share the establishment’s conservative policies. The winner must attain at least 376 of their combined 750 seats.
What the Opposition wants?
Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat said that he is ready to bring about change as the country’s 30th PM. Although he energised younger voters with his progressive agenda, he has alarmed conservatives with calls for reform.