Thailand's Prime Minister-elect, Yingluck Shinawatra, on Monday consolidated her potential hold on power by forming a coalition under the wings of her own Pheu Thai Party.
Speaking in Bangkok after launching the new coalition, Ms. Yingluck said the five constituent parties “share the same ideology”. The grouping would have 299 seats, “an auspicious figure”, in the 500-member new House, she added.
As her Pheu Thai Party bagged 265 seats in the final tally and stood in no compulsion to form a coalition, her action was hailed by observers as a smart move.
At the other end of the political spectrum, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned as leader of his Democrat Party, acknowledging personal responsibility for the defeat of the ruling coalition in Sunday's election. Observers expressed surprise that he chose to quit the centre-stage within hours of pledging to strike a path of constructive opposition in the new situation.
Fuelling speculation about the back-stage winners and losers in Sunday's election, Thaksin Shinawatra, Ms. Yingluck's elder brother in voluntary exile, said he might return to Thailand now to play golf and not to re-enter politics. With his youngest sister in their Thai-Chinese family winning, power was really passing into the hands of the younger generation, he quipped, seeking to douse speculation about his political intentions in the new circumstances.
There was also no immediate move by the Thai military elite to challenge Sunday's outcome. The military was widely seen to have been the back-stage loser in the latest election. There was considerable consensus in Southeast Asian circles that the Thai electoral verdict was a political slap on the face of the country's powerful military establishment.
Keywords: Thailand elections