Thailand election: Not a catalyst for policy implementation or political reconciliation


Thailand's election for the lower house of Parliament has likely resulted in a split of seats which gives grounds for both main political camps (one centred around the military and the other around the exiled Shinawatras) to claim they can form a coalition government. Near-term there is a risk of the eventual opposition not accepting the results in an orderly manner. Medium-term, there is a risk to stability of any coalition and obstructionism for the passage of new laws. 

There is a way to go yet before we see a clear picture of the next government. The Election Commission is still to announce the results of the 350 seats won by direct election (due later today, after a 20-hour delay), the final vote count which is used to allocate the 150 seats on the basis of proportional representation (due on 29 March) and the final official split of seats (due on 9 May). Thus far, most media coverage has focused on the split of the popular vote and the higher share for the party aligned to the military (Phalang Pracharath) versus the party aligned to the Shinawatras (Pheu Thai). But this matters much less than the ultimate seat count. Last night (after a preliminary release of over 90% of counted votes by the election commission), the State broadcaster MCOT published an estimate of total seats which implied that each party could form the centre of a coalition representing 46% of seats, with much smaller parties making up the balance of 8%...


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