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Thailand polls: 7 pro-democratic parties form coalition against ruling junta

Thailand’s Pheu Thai Party, which was ousted in a 2014 coup by the military junta, on Wednesday announced that it formed a seven-party coalition, claiming that it won a majority of Lower House seats in the March 25 General elections.

The Pheu Thai Party-led coalition claimed the right to form the government, saying it has got 255 seats in the 500-seat House of Representatives, pipping pro-military Palang Pracharath Party, The Straits Times reported.

At a press conference here, leaders of Future Forward Party, Pheu Chart Party, Prachachart Party, Seri Ruam Thai Party, and Thai People Power Party joined the Pheu Thai Party and signed a joint statement as a symbolic protest against the ruling junta.

However, a seventh party, the New Economics Party, did not make it to the presser. However, the Pheu Thai Party said that the party had agreed to be a part of the alliance.

While junta-backed Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha won the most votes in the polls, Pheu Thai Party bagged the highest number of Lower House seats winning 57, according to unofficial results.

The Palang Pracharath Party garnered 97 seats, as per the unofficial results. The official results of the elections will not be out until May 9.

The results, which is Thailand’s first since the military took over by dislodging the Yingluck Shinawatra-led Pheu Thai Party in a coup in 2014, remains uncertain after the country’s election commission postponed the announcement without any reason, leading to allegations of vote rigging.

Voter turnout for the Thai House of Representatives elections stood at 65.96 per cent, while about 52 million people were registered to vote for the March 25 elections. Out of them, seven million people were first-time voters.

There are 500 parliamentary seats – 350 constituency wards and 150 party list seats – for which elections were held after numerous delays. The 500 MPs and the 250 junta-appointed senators will each have a vote on who becomes the prime minister.

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