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Politics

Thai ruling coalition recruits lawmakers from banned party

Ex-Future Forward members switch sides before no-confidence motion

Thai opposition lawmakers are expected to bring a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha as soon as Friday.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thailand's pro-military coalition government is peeling off lawmakers from the opposition ahead of an expected no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha that now looks highly likely to fail.

The Bhumjaithai Party, the second-largest member of the ruling coalition, has poached nine lower-house members from the now-dissolved opposition Future Forward Party, according to local media.

In a decision believed to reflect military influence, Thailand's Constitutional Court ordered Future Forward to disband last week after ruling that it had received illegal funding from founder Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Several Future Forward members in the lower house were banned from political activity for 10 years.

The 65 remaining Future Forward lawmakers in the chamber are required to join or form another party within 60 days. Some analysts see as many as 30 joining the ruling coalition.

The realignment comes on the eve of a no-confidence motion against Prayuth and five members of his cabinet expected as early as Friday.

The ruling coalition, led by Prayuth's Palang Pracharath Party, had held a fairly narrow majority of 260 in the 500-seat lower house. The dissolution of Future Forward, the second-largest opposition party, has given it more breathing room.

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