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Thai opposition lays claim to form government

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha casts his ballot during the election. Xinhua

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s Pheu Thai party yesterday said it had formed a “democratic front” with six other parties after a disputed election, claiming the opposition alliance had won a majority in the lower house of parliament and the right to try to form a government.

However, the coalition would likely fall short of electing a prime minister, which requires a combined vote with the upper house of parliament, the Senate, which is entirely appointed by the military junta that in 2014 overthrew an elected Pheu Thai government.

The outcome of the election remains shrouded in doubt, with unofficial results delayed until at least tomorrow and allegations of vote-buying and irregularities in ballot counting.

Partial results still indicate that the pro-army Palang Pracharat party would have enough votes to keep junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha on as prime minister.

But an opposition alliance majority in the lower house, the House of Representatives, could lead to deadlock.

Pheu Thai’s prime ministerial candidate Sudarat Keyuraphan told a news conference that together with the other parties, the opposition alliance would win at least 255 lower house seats, based on calculations drawn from partial results.

“Parties in the democratic front gained the most trust from the people. Although right now numbers are still moving, we’re certain we will have at least 255 seats among ourselves,” Mr Sudarat told reporters, adding that they were also in talks with other parties.

“We declare that the democratic front who opposes military rule commands the majority in the House.”

Pheu Thai’s secretary-general, Phumtham Wechayachai, told reporters the democratic front now includes Future Forward party, Pheu Chart, Prachachart, Seri Ruam Thai, Thai People Power and New Economy.

The pro-military Palang Pracharat party, which has won 97 lower house seats, has also claimed the right to form the next government due to its lead on Pheu Thai in the popular votes.

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