Thailand Election Results: What We Know So Far | Election news

Thailand’s reformist opposition has won the most seats in the country’s elections and the largest share of the popular vote, stunningly rejecting nearly a decade of military and military-backed rule.

The progressive Move Forward Party (MFP) and the populist Pheu Thai Party were leading with 99 percent of the vote counted, but it was uncertain whether they would form the next government. The House should also vote on the Prime Minister.

That means MFP and Pheu Thai will have to negotiate with multiple parties to form the next administration.

With 99 percent of preliminary results published on the Election Commission website, the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP), formed only in 2020, had a total of 148 seats (113 directly elected and 35 from party lists, reflecting its overall national support).

Pheu Thai, associated with the billionaire Shinawatra family, had a total of 138 seats (111 directly elected and 27 from party lists) while Bhumjaithai came third with 70 seats.

The United Thailand Party of incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who led the 2014 coup as military commander, was fifth with 36 seats.

Susannah Patton, who heads the Southeast Asia program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, said there was no doubt about the will of Thai voters.

“This is a clear vote for change that cannot be ignored,” he wrote on Twitter. “The lessons of the past 20 years of Thai politics show that if establishment forces try to subvert this decision, it will only lead to further instability and polarization.”

500 lower house seats were up for grabs in Sunday’s election, 400 were directly elected constituencies and the rest were allocated through the proportional representation system.

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‘We can work together’

The MFP saw a late-stage surge in opinion polls and 3.3 million first-time voters – including plans to weaken the military’s political role and amend the law to toughen the royal family – have turned in favor of its liberal agenda. Insults by critics are used to stifle dissent.

The results caused disappointment among party workers and supporters at the MFP’s campaign headquarters.

“Before the election, I believed we would get around 100 seats,” said supporter Phisit Krairot, a 33-year-old engineer who was at the rally in Bangkok. “But the real-time updates I’m seeing today are already exceeding my expectations.”

Party leader Pita Limjaronrath arrived and cheered, then said the party planned to march around Bangkok’s main democracy monument. He is expected to address the press at 12.00 noon (05:00 GMT) on Monday.

“It is now clear that moving forward has earned the immense confidence of the people and the country,” he wrote on Twitter early Monday.

Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra congratulated the MFP on their election victory, saying the party with the most votes would lead the next government.

“We are ready to move forward, but we are waiting for an official decision,” he told reporters in Bangkok.

“I’m happy for them,” he added. “We can work together.”

The election is the country’s first since massive youth-led protests in 2020 broke long-standing deadlocks by calling for curbs on King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s powers and an end to the military’s intervention in politics. The armed forces have staged 13 successful coups since 1932 and failed nine.

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The MFP has promised radical reforms to the monarchy and the military, including revising Thailand’s draconian lese-majeste laws.

Les-majeste laws have been increasingly enforced since the 2014 coup. The vaguely worded Section 112 carries a 15-year jail term and rights groups say it has been used to punish political activity.

Bu Thai, who is allied with Thaksin Shinawatra, the self-exiled billionaire who caused Thailand’s political upheaval in a 2006 coup that ousted him, Very popular among working class Thai people. Despite Thaksin’s fall, parties associated with the telecom tycoon have won every election, including twice in landslides.

The party has refused to amend the lese-majeste laws, instead saying they will be tabled in parliament.

Analysts expect weeks of horse-trading before coalitions are formed and a prime minister is chosen.

Parties must have at least 25 seats to nominate a candidate, who needs 376 votes in both houses to become prime minister.

The Senate is appointed by the military government and is expected to vote in favor of parties or constituencies aligned with the military.

That could turn smaller parties like Bhumjaitai, led by current health minister Anudhin Charnvirakul, into kingmakers.

In the last election in 2019, Pheu Thai won more seats, but it was Prayuth who emerged as the leader of the 19-party coalition. His Balang campaign party, now led by his deputy Prawit Wongchuan, a former general, won the second most seats.

The Election Commission is not expected to officially confirm the final number of seats won by each party for several weeks.

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