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What’s next for Thailand after Move Forward Party’s shock election win?

This Week in AsiaPolitics

ExplainerWhat’s next for Thailand after Move Forward Party’s shock election win?

The pro-reform party claimed more than 14 million votes in Sunday’s election and is now seeking to form a coalition with Pheu Thai and othersBut a hostile military-backed royalist establishment won’t make it easy. Nor will the threat of legal woes, investor flight – or yet another coupThailandAmy SoodPublished: 3:00pm, 17 May, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Thai voters delivered a withering verdict on nine years of Prayuth Chan-ocha and his military allies in Sunday’s election – handing a shock win to the pro-reform Move Forward Party, which claimed more than 14 million votes.The party – led by 42-year-old Pita Limjaroenrat – is now seeking to form a coalition government with fellow pro-democrats Pheu Thai and five other small parties.But winning an election does not automatically lead to running the government in Thailand’s straitjacketed democracy.

Pita has seized the political momentum declaring himself to be “the next prime minister of Thailand” as he tries to drive his party to office. The senate, courts, military and a deeply conservative establishment stand in his way.

Here are some of the challenges that lie ahead, as well as some of the ramifications for Thailand – and its place in the world – if Move Forward is able to form a government:

Section 112, stubborn senators

Move Forward’s change narrative incorporates demilitarisation, protecting personal and political freedoms, hacking back monopoly businesses and – crucially – reforming Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code: the royal defamation law that shields the ultra-rich monarchy.

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