New Senate Hurdles for Thailand's Pheu Thai Party

Thailand's Election Commission has endorsed 200 new senators, replacing the military-appointed upper house. Analysts believe the new upper house could challenge the ruling Pheu Thai party's governance. The new senate won't vote on the prime minister but retains power to vet laws and appoint key figures. This change marks a significant shift in Thailand's political landscape.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 10-07-2024 15:47 IST | Created: 10-07-2024 15:47 IST
New Senate Hurdles for Thailand's Pheu Thai Party
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Thailand's Election Commission endorsed 200 new senators on Wednesday, replacing the military-appointed upper house and bringing in a new legislative body that could pose challenges for the ruling Pheu Thai party.

The new upper house will not vote on who becomes prime minister but will retain the authority to vet laws and appoint key members of organizations like the Election Commission and the Constitutional Court.

Election Commission Secretary-General Sawaeng Boonmee indicated the delay in announcing the senate selection results was due to numerous complaints, all of which have now been resolved.

The selection results reveal an upper house that lacks key Pheu Thai affiliates but marks gains for its coalition partner, Bhumjaithai, which may act as a proxy for the conservative-royalist establishment.

Analysts, like Mathis Lohatepanont, see this shift as a missed opportunity for a more Pheu Thai-friendly senate. The new body also diminishes the influence of Pheu Thai patriarch Thaksin Shinawatra.

Pheu Thai faces ongoing legal challenges that could threaten the political future of figures like Thaksin and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

In the 2023 elections, Pheu Thai was surpassed by the progressive Move Forward but formed a government with former military-backed rivals and Bhumjaithai, whose leader Anutin Charnvirakul is the current deputy prime minister and interior minister.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak from Chulalongkorn University notes that Bhumjaithai has gained substantial influence, positioning itself as a new supporter of the royalist establishment. One-third of the new senate's endorsement is necessary to amend the military-drafted constitution, presenting a potential hurdle for Pheu Thai.

(Disclaimer: With inputs from agencies.)

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