06/05/2019, 09.49
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Bangkok, parliament to vote for Prime Minister: junta favored over the Democrats

Prayuth Chan-ocha, the premier in office since the 2014 military coup, is ready to keep his post. He is challenged by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the New Future Party. Thailand remains divided after 13 years marked by coups, violent street protests and short-term civilian governments.



Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Thai parliament will choose its Prime Minister today, more than two months after the general elections on March 24th. Prayuth Chan-ocha (photo 1), premier in office since he led the 2014 military coup, is ready to maintain his post after the pro-junta party Palang Pracharat (PPRP) received support from the Democratic Party (DP).

Thailand remains divided after 13 years marked by coups, violent street protests and short-term civilian governments. At its root there is a rivalry between a conservative pro-monarchy establishment - supported by the justice system and army - and democratic parties supported by most of the lower-middle classes.  Prayuth is being challenged in the vote at the National Assembly by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (photo 2), leader of the Phak Anakhot Mai (Party of the new future). The young billionaire was announced yesterday as the only prime ministerial candidate in the anti-junta coalition, despite being involved in legal problems that could see him banned from politics and end up in jail.

According to the new Constitution of 2017, the Senate has the power to select the prime minister with the House of Representatives, during the first five years of the first National Assembly formed after the elections. The law states that a potential prime minister must be approved by more than half of the 750-member Assembly. Each of the two coalitions needs to collect at least 376 votes in the joint session - from both houses or only from the 500 members of the lower house. The candidate  will then be appointed and form the government. The 250 senators were all appointed by the junta and are expected to support Prayuth. In this case, the former general will only need to obtain 126 preferences in the lower house.

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