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Thailand's Move Forward Party announces coalition to bid for gov't

BANGKOK, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Move Forward Party on Thursday announced a multi-party coalition in a bid to form a government after emerging as the largest party of the lower house of the parliament in the country's general election.

The coalition, comprised of eight parties, was led by the Move Forward Party and joined by Pheu Thai Party, with the second most seats in the lower house as well as several other smaller parties previously in the opposition, Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat told a press conference, saying that the coalition has a projected 313-seat out of the total 500-seat House of Representative, the lower house of the parliament.

Pita said the coalition has agreed to support him as the next prime minister and is working on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that shares the mutual agenda of all parties.

A prime ministerial candidate requires at least 376 votes from a joint sitting of the bicameral parliament, which includes a 500-seat House of Representatives and a 250-seat Senate, in accordance with the 2017 constitution, which means Pita's coalition with 313 seats would still fall short of simple majority required for him to be appointed prime minister.

Some senators have expressed concerns over the Move Forward Party's agenda including the plan to amend the country's Lese Majeste law, which is one of its key electoral promises for the election on May 14.

The Lese Majeste law, or Section 112 of the Criminal Code, stipulates that whoever defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of 3 to 15 years.

The Bhumjaithai Party, which came third in the election, said on Thursday that it will not support any prime ministerial candidate or political party that aims to revoke or amend the Lese Majeste law.

A prime ministerial vote will be conducted in the joint session of the parliament after the Election Commission (EC) announces the official result of the election, which is due 60 days after the poll.