Thailand’s Move Forward makes way for Pheu Thai to form next government

BANGKOK (Reuters): Thailand’s election-winning Move Forward party will let alliance partner, the Pheu Thai party, lead the formation of a government after its prime ministerial candidate failed to get parliament’s backing, a senior official said on Friday.

Party secretary Chaithawat Tulathon told a press conference that Move Forward would back any candidate Pheu Thai would put forward for prime minister in a parliamentary vote scheduled for on July 27.

The eight-party alliance had backed Move Forward’s 42-year-old leader Pita Limjaroenrat for the premiership but he failed to win the support of the bicameral parliament on July 13 and his re-nomination six days later was blocked by lawmakers.

Move Forward and Pheu Thai have 151 and 141 seats in 500-member lower house, respectively, but the alliance needs the backing of more than half of the combined chambers, including an upper house Senate appointed by the military, which blocked Pita’s bid.

The liberal Move Forward won the May elections, crushing its conservative opponents in a clear public rejection of nearly nine years of military-backed governments.

Its progressive policies like ending business monopolies and amending the country’s controversial royal insults law challenged the country’s powerful royalist military and old money elites.