Prayut’s coalition cobbles together majority in the house

Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha

Ahead of the parliamentary meeting to vote for a Prime Minister, all 4 undecided parties have announced they are joining Phalang Pracharat’s coalition. Combining their MPs, the Prayut coalition appears to have secured a majority in the House of Representatives.

All 4 undecided parties, consisting of the Democrat Party (53 MPs), Bhumjaithai (51 MPs), Chart Thai Pattana (10 MPs), and Chart Pattana (3 MPs), have announced they will join a government led by the Phalang Pracharat Party. With 117 MPs, their support is essential for the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat to secure a majority in the House of Representatives.

Chart Thai Pattana (10 MPs) announced it was joining the Phalang Pracharat coalition on 31 May. Kanchana Silpa-archa, its leader and the daughter of the late Banharn Silpa-archa, former prime minister of Thailand, said her party may gain 1 seat in a Prayut-led cabinet.    

Yesterday (4 June), the Phalang Pracharat leaders held a press conference with the leaders of 5 small parties, including Action Coalition for Thailand, Chart Pattana, Thai Local Power, Thai Forest Conservation, and People Reform. While the other 4 parties had already announced they would join the government, it was the first time Suwat Liptapanlop’s Chart Pattana Party, consisting of 3 MPs, had declared itself.

Also yesterday, Democrat Party MPs and executives under new leader Jurin Laksanawisit, voted 61 to 16 to join Phalang Pracharat. Abhisit Vejjajiva, who led the party’s election campaign on an anti-junta platform, announced his resignation as an MP in protest. The anti-junta faction inside the Democrat Party, including Parit Wacharasindhu and several members of the New Dem faction, also left the Democrat Party.

Once the Democrats sided with the Prayut-led government, Bhumjaithai automatically joined. Led by Anutin Charnvirakul, Bhumjaithai said that its 51 MPs would not join the government unless Phalang Pracharat secured a majority. Backed by all parties outside the anti-junta coalition of 246 MPs, Phalang Pracharat appears to have a majority with 253 MPs.   

The parliament is today holding a session to vote for a Prime Minister. While Phalang Pracharat nominated Prayut Chan-o-cha, the anti-junta bloc will nominate Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to be the next Prime Minister of Thailand. Prayut Chan-o-cha said earlier that he would not give a speech outlining his vision for the job; he has shown this over the last 5 years. But Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has given a speech in front of the parliament building today.