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Pheu Thai’s Srettha Thavisin elected as Thailand’s new PM

PHOTO: Facebook/เศรษฐา ทวีสิน - Srettha Thavisin

100 days after the general election, Thailand finally has a new prime minister. Yesterday, Srettha Thavisin from the Pheu Thai Party was elected the 30th prime minister of Thailand, with 482 votes in favour, 165 against, and 81 abstentions – seen as a solid endorsement of the former real estate tycoon.

But the outcome has little to do with the result of the May 14 general election, where Move Forward Party won the highest number of parliamentary seats. The party then faced a number of hurdles trying to get leader Pita Limjaroenrat elected as PM, ultimately failing to do so, primarily due to its refusal to back down on a pledge to amend the lèse-majesté law (insults to the Thai monarchy).

As a result, Pheu Thai took over attempts to form a coalition government, eventually succeeding with a total of 11 parties, including the two pro-military parties, and 314 MPs. However, the alignment with the pro-junta parties has cost them some supporters. Yesterday, most of the votes against Srettha came from the Move Forward Party, which now sits in opposition.

To win the vote, Srettha needed a majority of 375 votes from 500 elected House representatives and 249 unelected, junta-appointed senators. During yeterday’s session, there were 728 MPs and senators present.

Of the 482 votes in favour of Srettha, 330 came from MPs, with 152 from senators. Of the 164 against, 152 were MPs and 12 were from senators. The 81 abstentions came from 13 MPs and 68 senators.

The process kicked off yesterday morning when Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew submitted Srettha’s name as the sole PM candidate. This was followed by 5 hours of debate between MPs and senators on the Pheu Thai candidate’s qualifications for the job.

House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha closed the debate at just after 3.10pm, at which point voting began. The results of the vote were announced at 5.40pm and Srettha’s name will now be submitted for royal approval.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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