Thailand's liberal Move Forward party, which won the most seats in the May 14 general election, signed a policy accord Monday with seven other opposition parties aimed at forming a coalition government.
The accord, which includes revoking military conscription but excludes repeal of a law against insulting the monarchy, was signed by parties including the Pheu Thai party, which captured the second-largest number of seats.
While they all support Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat as the next prime minister, their coalition deal does not necessarily mean they will lead the next government due to a revised electoral system that favors the establishment.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who leads the incumbent pro-military government, still has a chance to remain in office because elected members of the House of Representatives and 250 military-appointed senators will determine the new prime minister through a vote expected in July.
In the 2019 general election, Pheu Thai, made up of supporters of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, failed to form the coalition government, even though the opposition party won the most seats.
The memorandum of understanding signed Monday contains key policies of the prospective coalition government, such as drafting a new constitution to replace the current one enacted by the military in 2017 and relisting cannabis as an illicit drug, with the exception of its use for medical and research purposes.
Regarding the harsh lese-majeste law against insulting the monarchy, which is one of the Move Forward's key policies, Pita affirmed that the party will push for parliamentary discussion of its amendment even though it is not included in the MOU.
The Move Forward leader reiterated that the discussion will build more understanding between the monarchy and the people.
The other parties in the Move Forward-led coalition, which has a total of 313 elected members, are Prachachart, Thai Sang Thai, Seri Ruam Thai, Fair, Palang Sangkhom Mai and Pheu Thai Ruam Palang.
Thai opposition Move Forward wins poll, challenges pro-military rule