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Thai Opposition Parties Score Big Election Victories

Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of Move Forward Party, poses to media as he announces the victory in Sunday's general election at the party's headquarters in Bangkok, May 15, 2023.

Thailand woke up to the news today that the Move Forward party, backed by millions of youth voters, had won the most seats in the general election.

Pre-election polls had favored the Pheu Thai party to win a majority of seats, but in a surprise result it was the Move Forward Party that was on track to hold 151 seats compared to Pheu Thai’s 141.

Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat said Monday his party is ready to lead Thailand’s next government and he is ready to be the country’s next prime minister.

Pita told reporters in Bangkok he has already spoken to the Pheu Thai party and other political parties about forming a coalition government that will hold over 300 seats. If that happens, then it’s up to the 250-member military-appointed Senate to decide what happens next and whether they support the coalition and the prime minister candidate.

One of the key reasons the Thai youth have supported the Move Forward Party is their vows to try to reform the Thai monarchy along with amending Thailand’s lese majeste law which prohibits criticism of the royal family and punishes those guilty with heavy prison sentences. The party has also called for annual wage increases and to reform education and curriculum.

Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra congratulated MFP on their success and said "we can work together."

The Election Commission has up to 60 days to officially confirm vote counts.

The general elections were Thailand’s first since 2019 and voter turnout was about 39.5 million, or 75% of the more than 52 million registered voters.

Some material for this article came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.