Opinion: What’s Plan B, Plan C and More If Pita Fails To Become PM?

Supporters hug Move Forward Party PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat before he enters the parliament on Jul. 4, 2023.
Supporters hug Move Forward Party PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat before he enters the parliament on Jul. 4, 2023.

On Thursday morning at 9am to be exact, parliamentarians will vote to select the new prime minister and Move Forward Party PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat’s future will become clear, if not clearer.

Last minute lobbying for more junta-appointed senators to endorse Pita in the next three to four days aside, a rough and initial contingency plan has already been partly made public. House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha and Second Deputy House Speaker Pichaet Chuamuangpan have made it clear earlier this week that Pita’s name will at least get to be tabled for a second and even a third vote if he kept failing to get at least 376 votes – the magic number required to make him Thailand’s 30th prime minister.

Pichaet even specified that the second and third bicameral vote would be on July 19 and 20. That much we know but what we do not know is what will happen if Pita couldn’t muster enough votes even after the third try. Pichaet said the eight-coalition parties will then meet to discuss the future.

A most outlandish solution would be to keep putting Pita’s name back for a vote until, well, the junta-appointed senators complete their term in May 2024. This means former junta leader Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha will continue to serve as caretaker PM for another 10 months. Thailand will be stuck in a blackhole for another 10 months and that could be disastrous for the economy, stock market, and foreign investors’ confidence.


Some think this should be the way as the junta-appointed senate should not trump voters. Among those in the camp include senior Pheu Thai MP Chaturon Chaisang who said on Saturday the eight-coalition parties should stick together and “when the senators no longer have power we can form [the government].”

For those neither inclined nor want to wait that long, Plan C would be for the second-biggest party to put their PM candidate name for a vote. Pheu Thai can nominate three people, but the most likely choice would be former real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin, a moderate. This is because another ‘popular’ alternative, Thaksin Shinawatra’s daughter Paetongtarn Shinwatra would prove to be less palatable to the junta-appointed senate simply because the senators (and a substantial proportion of the Thai populations) are highly allergic to anything Shinawatra.

Under this scenario, if Srettha becomes PM, the First Deputy PM can either go to Pita or Move Forward Deputy leader Sirikanya Tansakun.

Anything less than that then we are probably witnessing the breakup of the current pro-democracy coalition with Pheu Thai possibly switching sides to join Phalang Pracharath Party and Bhumjai Thai, if not more, that will see Move Forward being left in the opposition camp.


Such a move would be unacceptable to pro-democracy voters who may have voted for Pheu Thai and it means the party may suffer a heavy loss in the following general election as a result as they would be branded as a sellout and betrayer.

In another scenario, we will see an attempt to form a minority government by the pro-junta camp that would be short lived as it will not have enough MP votes to pass the annual budget. But who am I to say it cannot be done. At least someone, perhaps Phalang Pracharath Party leader (and former deputy junta leader) Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan could at last become prime minister even if for a few short weeks (or Bhumjai Thai Party leader Anutin Charnveerakul for that matter).

Though I hope that since people have spoken, the will of the people will be respected, at the same time I should also say – do not underestimate how ludicrous and low Thai politics can get in the weeks ahead.