BANGKOK, THAILAND — Thailand’s Election Commission on Monday confirmed the results of last month’s vote, in which the pro-democracy opposition trounced the army-backed parties that have ruled the kingdom for nearly a decade.
The commission officially ratified the results for the 500-seat lower house, which makes the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP) the largest group with 151 seats.
MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat is the front-runner to become prime minister, although he faces an investigation that could see him disqualified.
The election commission is investigating around 200 complaints about the conduct of the 14 May poll.
“We decided to announce the ratification because not all of the complaints can be dealt with within 60 days,” commission secretary general Sawang Boonmee said at a press conference.
Election law requires the results to be ratified within 60 days, but the commission has a year to investigate complaints.
Parliament will convene and elect a lower house speaker within 15 days, but there is no set timeline for when they will select a new prime minister.
MFP says it has secured a coalition deal with seven other parties, including the second biggest, Pheu Thai, which would command a large majority in the lower house.
But to secure the prime minister’s job, Pita has to win a majority across both houses — including the Senate, where the 250 members were handpicked by the last junta.
There was a fresh setback for Pita last week as the election commission set up a special committee to probe whether he was qualified to run for office.
The investigation relates to Pita’s ownership of shares in a now-defunct media company — prohibited under Thai election law — and if found guilty he could be disqualified and face up to 10 years in jail.
Pita says he inherited the shares in the ITV television station, which has not broadcast since 2007, from his father.
MFP and Pheu Thai, which won 141 seats, dominated the election as voters rejected Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, a former army chief who came to power in a 2014 coup.