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Southeast Asian lawmakers call for the will of the Thai people to be upheld in the formation of a new government

15/05/2023

Southeast Asian lawmakers call for the will of the Thai people to be upheld in the formation of a new government

JAKARTA – Parliamentarians from Southeast Asia welcome the results of the Thai general elections and call on the Thai authorities to protect and uphold the will of the people in the formation of the government.

We congratulate the people of Thailand on coming out in huge numbers to exercise their right to vote and register their aspirations for change through peaceful balloting. The voters have spoken, and their message is clear: they want real democratic reform,” ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) Co-chair and former Malaysian member of parliament Charles Santiago said today.

While official results will only be available in 60 days, preliminary results announced by the Thai Election Commission indicate that the Move Forward party, led by Pita Limjaroenrat, is on track to win 151 seats. In comparison, fellow opposition party Pheu Thai has 141 seats: making a combined total of 292 out of 500 lower house seats.  The United Thai Nation Party of incumbent prime minister and former general Prayuth Chan-ocha, who rose to power in 2014 in a military coup, is trailing in fifth place with 36 seats.

Despite the overwhelming victory, however, the opposition parties may be unable to form a government. This is because the 250 military-appointed members of the upper house, which was formed as a result of the military coup, will also be voting on the next prime minister.

The Royal Thai Military must open their eyes and ears to what the Thai people are demanding. For years, protesters have taken to the streets, calling for democracy and human rights. They have now backed this up in the ballot box,” said Santiago.

Subverting the election results and blocking the formation of a new government by the winning parties would be an unconscionable betrayal that would only result in unrest and instability. We, therefore, urge the military and incumbent government to do the right thing and abide by the will of the people.”

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ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) was founded in June 2013 with the objective of promoting democracy and human rights across Southeast Asia. Our founding members include many of the region's most progressive Members of Parliament (MPs), with a proven track record of human rights advocacy work.

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