Thailand’s parliament is meeting this week for the first time since the July 3 general elections that resulted in a clear majority for the Pheu Thai Party and its leader, Yingluck Shinawatra. But Ms. Yingluck faces considerable challenges ranging from selection of her Cabinet to implementing the party’s populist election promises.
The 44-year-old’s Pheu Thai Party won 265 seats in the house and joined minor parties to hold a ruling majority of 300 seats in the 500 member House of Representatives.
At Monday’s ceremonial opening, Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajralongkorn, speaking on behalf of his father, the Thai king, called on lawmakers to show responsibility in office. Vajiralongkorn told the almost 500 parliamentarians they had to be “honest and sincere in their duties” as well as being aware of the public benefits to the community.
The July elections capped a tumultuous few years in Thailand between supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his opponents. Thaksin is Ms. Yingluck’s brother who has been in exile since fleeing Thailand in 2008, where he faces a two year jail term on corruption charges.
Pro-Thaksin parties won elections in 2007. But court rulings and anti-government protests led to a coalition led by Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in December 2008 backed by the urban elite and military.