Pro-Junta Party Furious at Pheu Thai Coalition Bid

Future Forward’s Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit talks with Pheu Thai's Sudarat Keyuraphan at a news conference on March 27, 2019.

BANGKOK — A party allied to junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha said Wednesday the opposition has no mandate to form a coalition pact.

Phalang Pracharath insisted it should be the one forming a government because it won more votes than the main opposition party did in Sunday’s election. Its spokesman also criticized Pheu Thai Party for announcing a pact with six other parties to lead a coalition government.

“We have the legitimacy to form a majority government and support Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha as the [next] prime minister,” Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana told reporters. “What’s more important, we won the most number of votes, about 8 million of them. This is the vox populi to have Gen. Prayuth as a prime minister.”

He said Pheu Thai leader Sudarat Keyuraphan should remind herself that she didn’t win any seat in the party-list quota on Sunday.

“Actually, khun ying Sudarat should be more humble, because she wasn’t elected as an MP,” Thanakorn said. “Yet she’s proposing herself as the prime minister.”

Leaders of Pheu Thai and its allies held a jointed news conference earlier today in Bangkok where they signed a pact to form a coalition government together. Sudarat said her camp now has 255 MPs combined, exceeding the required majority of 251 seats.

Phalang Pracharath leaders on a “thank you” tour in Bangkok on March 27, 2018.

Although New Economics Party leader Mingkwan Sangsuwan was not present at the signing of the pact this morning, Pheu Thai aides said he has pledged to support the coalition. An aide of Mingkwan also said his position of not supporting Gen. Prayuth remains “unchanged.”

Responding to news about Pheu Thai’s coalition bid, the junta said any attempt to form a government must wait until early May, when His Majesty the King is coronated and voting regulators fully endorse election results.

“I don’t know. But it has to be after May 9,” Gen. Prawit told reporters when asked to comment on Pheu Thai Party’s declaration of its coalition pact earlier today.

“A government can only be formed after the royal coronation ceremony is over,” he added.

King Vajiralongkorn is set to be formally crowned in elaborate rituals running May 4 through May 6, while the Election Commission has said final results of Sunday’s voting will be announced May 9.

Deputy prime minister Wissanu Krea-ngam also dismissed Pheu Thai’s pact with six other anti-junta parties as a bluff.

“It’s their business. Whoever thinks they are ready to take preemptive action or whatever, they can do so,” Wissanu told reporters. “But what they do won’t have any real impact other than a psychological effect.”