Opposition parties lead race in early vote counting of Thailand general elections 2023

Next up: a coalition?

Yen Zhi Yi | May 15, 2023, 12:20 PM

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Thailand’s general elections concluded at 5pm on May 14 and vote counting has kicked off, according to the Bangkok Post.

Based on the latest statistics, the country’s opposition parties Move Forward Party (MFP) and Pheu Thai Party are leading the polls.

About 97 per cent of votes in Thailand have been counted, Reuters reported.

Preliminary results showed that MFP had won 151 seats in the House of Representatives while Pheu Thai secured 141 seats.

Bhumjaithai Party, led by health minister Anutin Charnvirakul, came behind with 70 seats, while the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) won 41 seats.

The United Thai Nation Party (UTN), led by incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, won 36 seats.

With the opposition securing a majority in the preliminary counting, it could path the way to the end of almost 10 years of military-backed rule, according to Reuters.

Move Forward Party

In response to the early counting results, MFP's leader Pita Limjaroenrat, 42, thanked voters for their faith in his party in a tweet on May 15.

He earlier wrote that he was ready to serve as Thailand’s 30th Prime Minister “whether [the people] have voted for [him] or not”, according to a translation by Thai PBS World.


However, Pita’s position could be threatened by his shares in a media company which may disqualify him from standing for election.

His party will be holding media conferences later in the day.

Pheu Thai Party

Pheu Thai had been expected to win a landslide victory since they had done so in the past elections, Reuters reported.

The party’s prominent premier candidate, 36-year-old Paetongtarn Shinawatra, was quoted as saying that she was happy for MFP, but the time has not yet come to talk about alliances.

She remarked that people’s voice “is most important” and called on supporters to be patient, according to the Bangkok Post.

The expected return of her father and Thailand’s former exiled Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, could also throw another spanner in the works.

Results not confirmed yet

General Prawit Wongsuwon, the prime minister candidate of ruling PPRP, did not comment on MFP’s popularity, nor comment on whether he was disappointed about the preliminary results.

Meanwhile, Prayuth of the UTN stated that he will respect the country’s democracy and election results, as well as continue to “serve the nation” for the rest of his life, Thai PBS World reported.

It remains to be seen whether a coalition will be formed between the opposition parties, given that they need at least 376 seats to declare victory without needing any votes from the Senate.

The 250-member Senate appointed by the military will have a say in deciding who gets to be Prime Minister.

Termsak Chalermpalanupap, the Visiting Fellow and Coordinator of the Thailand Studies Programme at thinktank ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, told Mothership before the election that no party could win so many house seats alone.

“So Pheu Thai Party and even Move Forward Party needs to have a coalition. But who they can include, that is still a big question."

"Now we know that the two opposition parties will win big, but how big? We don’t know yet."

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Top images via Facebook pages of Pheu Thai & Pita Limjaroenrat