Thailand Election: Youth-led Move Forward Party Takes Stunning Lead, Military Parties Could Be On Their Way Out

ByNews Asia 360

Sunday’s election in Thailand saw a sweeping victory for the opposition parties, decimating their military-backed counterparts. This sets in motion events that will culminate in a governing coalition being formed and thus mark the end of almost 10 years of conservative rule with the military at its helm.

With almost all the ballots counted, it’s clear that the liberal Move Forward Party and Pheu Thai Party are leading. However, due to the military-backed parliamentary rules in place since 2014, it remains unclear who will ultimately form the next government.

Forging successful alliances and conjuring up support from a variety of sides is imperative if the opposition wants to take control. This includes members of a junta-initiated Senate that has backed military factions and ultimately holds the power to decide who will be chosen as PM and establish the next government.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Pheu Thai’s Paetongtarn and Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat

Image | South China Morning Post

Sunday’s election saw a continuation of the power struggle between Pheu Thai – the popular party backed by the wealthy Shinawatra family – and the conservative alliance aligned with powerful forces in military and politics, two decades on since they first clashed.

Move Forward’s incredible performance in the election, buoyed by the enthusiastic support from young voters, has posed a challenge to Thailand’s leadership and their political parties. Their aim of reforming governing institutions and breaking up monopolies nearly secured them a total victory in Bangkok.

Move Forward emerged as the highest-ranking party, closely trailed by Pheu Thai, based on the initial outcomes. According to Reuters’ computation, both parties were likely to win more than three times the amount of seats compared with Palang Pracharat, an establishment backed by the military junta and the United Thai Nation alliance.

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