Party With Most MP Seats Should Form Next Govt: Academic

An official announces a ballot void March 24 at a polling station in Bangkok’s Sai Mai district.
An official announces a ballot void March 24 at a polling station in Bangkok’s Sai Mai district.

BANGKOK — Political parties should respect their pledge to allow the party with the most MP seats to attempt the formation of a coalition government, the director of Mahidol University’s human rights institute said Friday.

Eakpant Pindavanija, from the university’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, said he hoped all parties that signed the pledge “will respect it, as it will set a good political foundation.” Eakpant, led the effort to have 25 political parties sign the pledge in December 2018.

Signatories include the Pheu Thai, Democrat, Future Forward, BhumjaiThai, Democrat and Commoner parties.

“Political parties that form the next coalition government shall seek and receive the support of more than half the members of the House of Representatives,” part of the pledge stated.

Both sides of the political divide are now claiming the right to lead the next administration – pro-junta Phalang Pracharath, which won the popular vote and the Pheu Thai party, which has more parliamentary seats.

It’s likely that Phalang Pracharath – which supports strongman Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister – will have to depend on the votes of the 250 junta-appointed senators.

Eakpant said it’s understood from the pledge that Thai representative democracy adheres to the number of MPs and not popular votes.

“I have said a hundred times that popular votes have already been computed into MP seats,” Eakpant said, adding that it’s the number of MPs that count.

He said Phalang Pracharath Party and Action Coalition for Thailand did not participate in the pledge.

“We contacted them many times but they declined,” Eakpant said Friday.