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Southeast Asian lawmakers call for respect of will of people in formation of new Thai gov’t

Despite the overwhelming victory, the opposition parties may be unable to form a government

Parliamentarians from Southeast Asia welcomed the results of the Thai general elections and called on 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,” read a statement from Charles Santiago, co-chairman of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights.

“The voters have spoken, and their message is clear: they want real democratic reform,” he said.

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 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.

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

He said “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.”

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