Pheu Thai, a party backed by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s family, has added six more partners in a coalition it’s steering to form a government and end a political stalemate following the May general election.
(Bloomberg) — Pheu Thai, a party backed by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s family, has added six more partners in a coalition it’s steering to form a government and end a political stalemate following the May general election.
The new groups added 16 more lawmakers to the alliance in the elected lower house, Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said on Wednesday. More parties may pledge support to the bloc in the coming days, he said. The alliance’s support in the 500-member House of Representatives now stands at 228.
Earlier this week, Pheu Thai joined hands with conservative Bhumjaithai Party, which finished third in the May 14 election. Most of the new joiners were previously part of a pro-democracy coalition formed by reformist Move Forward Party, which was disbanded after Pheu Thai’s departure last week.
The news of Pheu Thai making progress in broadening its support may help ease the uncertainty around Thailand’s government formation, which has kept the nation on edge and rattled investors. Foreign investors have dumped a net $3.8 billion worth of Thai stocks this year, driving the nation’s benchmark equity gauge 9% lower, the worst-performing major market in Asia.
“To solve this crisis, we need to end political polarization. We need cooperation from all sides, all groups, everyone, to form a government,” Cholnan said, adding that unity and reconciliation were its “top national agenda.”
While Pheu Thai executives have said they are confident of forming a government with majority support in the lower house, it’s still not clear how it will ensure a win for its prime minister candidate Srettha Thavisin. The former property tycoon will need the backing of the majority of the 750 lawmakers in a joint sitting of the the lower house and the military-appointed Senate.
Deputy leader Phumtham Wechayachai said Pheu Thai will meet with Move Forward on Wednesday afternoon, potentially to seek the backing of its 151 lawmakers for Srettha’s nomination. Pheu Thai has also been asking senators for support, he said.
(Updates with details throughout.)
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