Whether the Democrats or Pheua Thai come first on July 3, they won’t have enough seats to form a majority government. They’ll need to attract several minor parties into joining a coalition. If they fail, whoever came second will have their chance. So Thailand’s other parties are in a powerful position to sell their favours to the big two. This is the first in a series of posts looking at who these parties are.
Phak Bhum Jai Thai (BJT, พรรคภูมิใจไทย) means Thai pride party.
Current number of seats in House of Representatives
32 (of 480).
November 5 2008.
Origins and membership
Bhum Jai Thai (BJT) is constituted by former members of the Neutral Democratic party and the “Friends of Newin” group that defected from the People Power Party (PPP) to join the Democrat-led coalition after the latter took power in December 2008. Prior to then the Neutral Democratic party and another party, Chart Thai, were junior partners in the government dominated by the PPP. All three parties were dissolved by the constitutional court in December 2008, and senior members banned from office for five years.
Just as the current Pheua Thai party (which replaced the PPP) has a behind-the-scenes leader in Thaksin Shinawatra, Bhum Jai Thai has Newin Chidchob (เนวิน ชิดชอบ, of friendship fame). Newin once worked for Thaksin as a member of the former PM’s Thai Rak Thai party, the PPP’s predecessor. He held a cabinet position in Thai Rak Thai until that government was ousted in the coup of 2006. As a former member of Thai Rak Thai he was banned from office for five years in 2007. Despite the ban he was a key figure in engineering the formation of the current coalition government.Allegiances
Pheua Thai has indicated that it would be unwilling to enter into coalition with BJT.
BJT, like most Thai political parties of of recent times, is ostensibly populist, and borrows many key policies from Thai Rak Thai, the only Thai government to be reelected with an overall majority.