The National Assembly chose him with 500 votes in favor. His rival, the Democrat Thanathorn, obtained 244. The opposition claims to have "been robbed of victory": 250 Senate members had all been appointed by the junta. But the government has a small majority in the House of Representatives.
Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The head of the Thai junta Prayut Chan-o-cha (photo) calls the country to national unity and thanks the members of parliament who voted for it Prime Minister of civil government, five years after taking the power in a military coup.
In the vote at the National Assembly, Prayut yesterday easily defeated Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the charismatic rising star of Thai politics. Gathered in joint session, the two chambers of parliament expressed themselves in favor of the general with 500 votes to 244.
The opposition claims to have "been robbed of victory" and points out that the 250 members of the Senate had all been appointed by the junta. The Democratic Front, the seven-party coalition that supports Thanathorn, says the electoral system was designed to extend and legitimize military rule over civilian rule.
The new prime minister now wants all the Thais to join him in bringing the country forward. Government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak says that Prayut "will do his best for the nation, religion, monarchy and people". He will lead a coalition government of 19 parties, which has a small majority in the House of Representatives and which analysts say could be vulnerable to defections and infighting.
After the preliminary results of the March elections were published, the Democratic Front was certain to have obtained a majority in the House. However, the Electoral Commission later announced a change in the allocation formula. The body has assigned a seat to 10 small parties, especially penalizing the Phak Anakhot Mai (New Future Party) of Thanathorn. The 10 small parties then joined the Prayut coalition.