Thailand's opposition to nominate rising star as premier

BANGKOK •Thailand's parliamentary vote for prime minister today will be a contest between the leader of a 2014 military coup and a rising opposition star facing two criminal charges that he says stem from his stand against the ruling junta.

The stark choice comes after a March 24 election that the opposition says was heavily weighted to favour pro-army parties.

Thailand's House of Representatives and the Senate will meet in a joint parliamentary session today to vote for a prime minister and officially restore civilian rule after more than five years of military government under Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Mr Prayut looks likely to have enough support to be confirmed as prime minister thanks to the 250 votes of the Senate, which was wholly appointed by the junta.

However, the pro-military Palang Pracharath Party which has nominated Mr Prayut does not have a majority in the elected Lower House of Parliament, the House of Representatives.

Palang Pracharath, which came second in the general election, has more than a dozen coalition partners among small parties, said party leader Uttama Savanayana yesterday.

Meanwhile, the seven-party anti-military Democratic Front coalition will nominate upstart political star Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit of the new Future Forward Party for prime minister to face off against Mr Prayut, a spokesman said.

 

Mr Thanathorn, 40, entered politics just last year and his party came in third in the March election. He faces at least two criminal charges of sedition and cybercrime for allegedly aiding anti-junta protesters shortly after the coup and for a critical speech on Facebook - charges he has characterised as politically motivated.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'Thailand's opposition to nominate rising star as premier'. Print Edition | Subscribe