Pheu Thai congratulates Move Forward for its victory, accepts coalition offer
Pheu Thai Party on Monday thanked voters and congratulated Move Forward Party for emerging victorious in the May 14 general election.
The opposition party also insisted it will not get into a tussle to become leader of the new government.
As of 3pm on Monday, Move Forward had bagged 113 constituency seats and 39 party-list seats, against Pheu Thai’s 112 constituency and 29 party-list seats.
At a press conference on Monday, Pheu Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew read a party statement. Also present were the party’s two top PM candidates, Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Srettha Thavisin.
The statement read: “Pheu Thai wants to thank people who voted and those who have overwhelmingly supported the party and democracy. Pheu Thai is also taking this opportunity to congratulate Move Forward Party for winning the largest number of seats.
“Based on the rules of democracy and social contract declared by Pheu Thai, we accept the fact that Move Forward Party has proposed to lead the formation of a new government. We also accept Move Forward’s invitation to create a democratic alliance.
“Pheu Thai also confirms that the party has no plan to compete with Move Forward to form a new government,” the statement said. “[We accept that] the issues and processes related to the formation of a new government are for Move Forward Party to decide.”
When asked about the possibility of including Bhumjaithai Party in the coalition, Cholnan said the decision was up to Move Forward and Pheu Thai will not interfere. Bhumjaithai, which is part of the outgoing government, won 67 seats.
Paetongtarn added that she called Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat this morning to congratulate him, but has yet to discuss details about forming a government.
“I fully support Move Forward, who won a majority of votes from the public to lead the new government,” she said, adding that she will also vote for Pita to become the next PM.
When asked about her father, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s return to Thailand, Paetongtarn said his return has nothing to do with Pheu Thai Party. “If nothing changes, he will return by July as he had announced earlier,” she added.
Srettha, however, said the issue of abolishing the lese majeste law, or Section 112, may stop Pheu Thai from forming a coalition with Move Forward. He said Pheu Thai has a clear stance on preserving the law, while Move Forward aims to end it.
Section 112 of the Criminal Code states that “whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years”.
Move Forward, however, has said it only seeks to amend the law. There are hundreds of pro-democracy protesters languishing in jail over lese majeste charges.