BANGKOK, THAILAND — Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of Thailand’s Move Forward Party (MFP), has confirmed discussions with Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the leader of the Pheu Thai Party, and six other parties in an effort to form a coalition government.
The parties involved in the talks include Move Forward, Pheu Thai, Thai Sand Thai, Prachachat, Sereeruamthai, and the Fair Party, collectively holding 309 seats.
Pita emphasized the importance of reaching a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for both the initial 100 days and the first year of the coalition government’s term.
Following unofficial Election Commission results indicating Move Forward’s victory, Pita held a meeting with Paetongtarn Shinawatra at the Move Forward headquarters on 15 May where she expressed her willingness to cooperate in the coalition-building process.
Pita has also extended invitations to the Thai Sang Thai, Prachachat, and Sereeruamthai parties to join the coalition.
Additionally, the Fair Party’s support for the peace process in the southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat makes their participation crucial in reaching a majority government of 309 seats.
Pita stated that further discussions would be held to determine specific details, guidelines, and the framework of the coalition government. The MOU will provide transparency to the public, offering insights into the government’s plans and actions over the next 100 days and the upcoming year.
Pita remains committed to fulfilling his promises, particularly the organization of a referendum for the Constituent Assembly to facilitate a legal and effective transfer of power.
Notably, Pita emphasized the need for army reform and the abolition of conscription. He expressed his readiness to assume the role of Defense Minister if necessary but also stated his openness to assigning the position to someone more suitable.
Regarding the amendment to Section 112, Pita stated that Move Forward, with its 151 seats, has enough representation in Parliament to table the motion.
He emphasized the importance of taking care of those affected by the law and offering amnesty. Pita expressed concerns about the strained relationship between the younger generation and institutional structures, urging a timely discussion to address the issue before it escalates further.
When asked about potential obstacles, Pita dismissed concerns about the Senate’s support for his bid as Prime Minister. He expressed confidence in the will of the public, noting that opposing their needs would not benefit any party involved.
Pita clarified that while Bhumjaijhai’s involvement in the government was not currently necessary, having a coalition with more than 300 seats should be sufficient to maintain public consensus.
Pita also mentioned that Bhumjaijhai leader Anutin Charnvirakul has not contacted him yet.
However, Senator Chalermchai Fuangkon highlighted potential challenges in garnering Senate support for the Prime Ministerial vote.
While he personally would support any government with over 250 votes, other senators might not share the same sentiment.
Chalermchai stressed the need for a solid government to have a total of 376 votes, cautioning Move Forward against solely relying on the senators’ decision-making.
He reminded Pita that the senators were appointed by the groups forming the coalition.
As Thailand awaits the formation of a new government, the ongoing coalition talks indicate the efforts to establish a united front that can address the country’s challenges and deliver on promised reforms.