By Thai Newsroom Reporters
WHETHER THE PHEU THAI will eventually score a landslide victory and become core of a government after the May 14 general election could probably depend on the results of constituency-based contests in seven “strategic” provinces, said Thammasat University political scientist Prajak Kongkirati last night (Apr.27).
The contests between the Pheu Thai on one end of the country’s political spectrum and a few other camps on the other end are going to be tough and unrelenting in constituency-based mode covering the seven “strategic” provinces, Prajak confirmed.
Known for being on one end is the Pheu Thai fiercely contesting those on the other end, including the Palang Pracharath, Bhumjaithai and Ruam Thai Sang Chart, in the “strategic” provinces’ constituencies where victories or defeats could probably determine the future of the party where deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is invariably viewed as de facto party boss.
The seven “strategic” provinces include three in lower Isaan region, namely Nakhon Ratchasima which will have 16 MPs, Ubon Ratchathani with 11 MPs and Sisaket with nine MPs, where the Pheu Thai is relentlessly fighting against the Bhumjaithai, two upper-central provinces, namely Petchabun with six MPs and Kampaengpet with four MPs, where the Pheu Thai is competing against the Palang Pracharath, one eastern province, namely Chonburi with 10 MPs, where the Pheu Thai is running against the Ruam Thai Sang Chart and one of Bangkok’s outlying provinces, namely Samut Prakan with eight MPs, where the Pheu Thai is vying against the Palang Pracharath.
Though the Pheu Thai is widely speculated to get most of the total 500 MPs in constituency-based and party-listed modes combined among all contesting parties, it remains to be seen whether the party will eventually score a landslide victory, meaning to get many more than half the total, Prajak commented.
Given campaign finance, working staff, canvassers and personal powers of the partisan candidates running in constituency-based mode in addition to their respective camps’ popularity and campaign platforms, the Pheu Thai are having the chances of winning all constituencies in the seven “strategic” provinces or winning some and losing some or even losing all of those constituencies in the May 14 general election, Prajak said. So are their archrivals on the other end when it comes to electoral battles on those specific turfs, he said.
“Whether the much-heralded Pheu Thai landslide victory will be repeated as in previous elections could probably depend on the results of the upcoming election in the strategic provinces,” remarked the Thammasat political scientist.
A contesting party’s bargaining power over the setting up of a government will directly, proportionately hinge on the number of MPs which they may have at command.
Meanwhile, the constituencies in all 70 other provinces throughout the country have mostly become arenas for parties on the same side competing against one another, Prajak said.
Prajak said the Pheu Thai and Move Forward, both being on the same end, are running against each other in all 33 Bangkok constituencies as well as those in the capital’s outlying provinces whilst the Palang Pracharath, led by Prawit Wongsuwan, the Ruam Thai Sang Chart, headed by de facto party boss/caretaker prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Bhumjaithai, steered by de facto party boss Newin Chidchob, and the Democrats, all being bunched up on the other end, are also vying against one another for MP seats in all 60 southern constituencies.
He pointed out that the parties being on the same side of the political spectrum refer to those who may share bases of popular support from among constituents such as those shared between the Pheu Thai and the Move Forward or those shared between Prawit’s, Prayut’s and Newin’s camps.
The Pheu Thai landslide dreams could possibly fizzle out in a nightmarish fiasco since most, if not all, of the 250 senators are invariably believed to never cast a yea vote for any contestant for prime minister named by this particular party, according to the Thammasat academic.
The anti-Thaksin senators, all of whom had been handpicked by Prawit and Prayut following the 2014 coup, are only anticipated to either vote for the Palang Pracharath leader or the caretaker prime minister or bluntly abstain from voting, thus aborting the Pheu Thai’s bid for elected premiership.
Under the coup junta-designed constitution, a partisan contestant for prime minister needs yea votes from more than half the total of the MPs and senators combined or at least 376 votes to be successfully named one.
Top: Pheu Thai’s Nakhon Ratchasima’s constituency 2 candidates canvassing on a tuk-tuk on Wednesday April 26, 2023.
First insert: Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit campaigning for the Move Forward Party.
Second insert: Caretaker prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Third insert: Palang Pracharath boss Prawit Wongsuwan.
Front Page: Pheu Thai’s three candidates for prime minister, from left, Settha Taweesin, Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Chaikasem Nitisiri. All photos: Matichon