Move Forward Party leader and Prime Ministerial candidate Pita Limjaroenrat Wikipedai
Bangkok [Thailand]: The Pheu Thai Party is expected to form a coalition with the Move Forward Party (MFP) as unofficial election results showed they were neck and neck in a tight race, reported Bangkok Post.
Election Commission data showed on Monday that Thailand's progressive opposition was well ahead with nearly all ballots counted, delivering a heavy defeat to conservative parties allied with the military for nearly a decade.
With 97 per cent of polling stations counted, the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP) had 13.5 million ballots in the popular vote, ahead of rival opposition outfit Pheu Thai on 10.3 million, with the United Thai Nation party of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha on 4.5 million, reported Al Jazeera.
As of 10.30 pm, two parties from the previous opposition bloc -- Pheu Thai Party and the Move Forward Party -- were taking turns in leading both the constituency and party-list races while counting votes was still being conducted.
Srettha Thavisin, one of Pheu Thai's three prime ministerial candidates, said that unofficial results showed Pheu Thai was still in the lead, not the MFP, reported Bangkok Post.
The MFP, a youth-led progressive party formed in 2020, was on track to win 115 constituency seats and had a 33 per cent share of the seats allocated in the separate nationwide ballot.
Pheu Thai (For Thais), the opposition party linked to the billionaire Shinawatra family, looked set to win 112 constituency seats and 25 per cent of party-list seats.
The United Thai Nation Party of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who first came to power in a 2014 coup, was expected to win 25 of the constituency seats and 10 per cent of the party-list seats.
In Sunday's election, 500 lower house seats are up for grabs, 400 of which are directly elected constituency seats. The rest are allocated according to a system of proportional representation.
Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra offered congratulations to MFP on their election success, saying the party with the most votes will get to lead the next government, reported Al Jazeera.
"We are ready to talk to Move Forward, but we are waiting for the official result," she told reporters in Bangkok. "I'm happy for them," she added. "We can work together."
Millions of Thais headed to the polls on Sunday for a general election where opposition parties are hoping to ride a wave of frustration over the military's stranglehold on the levers of power and its handling of the economy.
The election is the first since youth-led mass pro-democracy protests in 2020 and only the second since a military coup in 2014 ousted an elected government, restoring a conservative clique that has pulled the strings in the kingdom's turbulent politics for decades.