Thailand's new PM Yingluck Shinawatra secures agreement with coalition colleagues

The woman set to become Thailand’s first female prime minister sought to seize the momentum today, securing an agreement with coalition colleagues in order to bolster her party’s mandate and starting work on what she hopes will become her flagship policies.

A day after her Peau Thai (PT) party secured a landslide win, Yingluck Shinawatra announced she would form a five party coalition that would control 299 seats of the 500 in the country’s parliament. Officials said the move was taken to bolster her government’s appeal and to guard action possible interference from the military or her political opponents.

“The expectation is high. We have to get things done as quickly as possible. We are not going to enjoy a grace period,” said the party’s deputy leader, Kanawat Wasinsungworn. He said although PT had won a simply majority, it had been decided to reach out to coalition partners in case there were challenges to the legitimacy of some of those elected. “We need stability,” he added.

By broadening the base of its support, PT will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2006 military coup which saw Ms Yingluck’s brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, forced from power and driven into exile. Since 1930, the military has led 18 such coups.

Today, a military commander who is close to those officers involved in the 2006 coup, told Reuters that the army had no such plans. “I can assure that the military has no desire to stray out of its assigned roles,” said General Prawit Wongsuwan. Ms Yingluck may not be greatly relieved by his comments; in 2006 another general gave similar assurances just months before it seized power.

The party headed by the 44-year-old businesswoman has said its priorities will be introducing a series of economic stimulus measures and working to reconcile a still divided nation. Mr Kanawat said the party also had plans to help benefit the rural working class, among whom PT has secured much of its support. Indeed, an election map printed in Thailand’s The Nation newspaper showed a country neatly split between the red of PT in the north and north-east and eastern Bangkok, and the blue of the Democrat party in the south and western Bangkok.

In the village of Nong Jok, where new housing projects have come up amid paddy fields and grazing cattle, Malee Pungchalern explained why she supported PT. “I am very excited. I think we will see some changes… I believe in Thaksin. He is talented,” she said. “This is a victory [for us] because the rich people in Bangkok have money and Thaksin’s policies may not support them as much.”

While PT and Thakin’s support among the rural classe is often talked of, this community west of Bangkok reveals rural communities are themselves changing. Lee Lawadee and her family moved here four years ago and bought a three-bedroom house in a pastel-coloured gated community. She said affordable healthcare schemes introduced by Mr Thaksin when he was prime minister had helped her family and her friends while Ms Yingluck’s plan to introduce a minimum monthly wage of 15,000 baht (£300) for graduates would benefit her son.

Both Mrs Lee and Mrs Malee said they hoped Mr Thaksin would soon return to Thailand. But PT officials, wishing to avoid triggering controversy before they have even formally formed the government, stress that is not a priority for them and say it would be unfair to introduce an amnesty just for one person.

Mr Thaksin has said he is happy in Dubai for now. However, in a comment that may he a sign-post of potential problems ahead, he said he wanted to attend the wedding of his daughter, due to be held in Thailand in December. Speaking from the Middle East, he said: “That is just a wish. Many wishes do not come true. That will depend on the amnesty.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot