11 August 2023

Pheu Thai:
“We’re willing to join hands with every party...”

Varawut Silpa-archa / Cholnan Srikaew / Phumtham Wechayachai

Pheu Thai’s coalition now consists of nine parties, giving the bloc a total of 238 seats. Bhumjaithai was the first to join, adding their seventy-one seats to Pheu Thai’s 141. They were followed by seven smaller parties: Chart Thai Pattana, the most recent addition, has ten MPs, though the others are all in single figures. At a press conference on 9th August, Pheu Thai’s deputy leader Phumtham Wechayachai said: “We’re willing to join hands with every party, whether it is the opposition or independent.” This all-embracing position doesn’t extend to Move Forward, which was ejected from the previous coalition despite winning the most seats in the election.

It’s mathematically impossible for Pheu Thai’s coalition to reach a 251-seat parliamentary majority without the support of either Palang Pracharath, United Thai Nation, or the Democrats. Palang Pracharath and United Thai Nation are the political wings of the junta that launched a coup against Pheu Thai in 2014, and Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew has repeatedly pledged never to cooperate with either of them. The Democrats were the main rivals of Pheu Thai and its predecessors for more than a decade, and were in power when the red-shirts—Pheu Thai’s grassroots supporters—were massacred in 2010. After breaking off its engagement to Move Forward, Pheu Thai is on the verge of sleeping with the enemy.

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