On Sunday, 700 people gathered in central Bangkok in over 500 automobiles and motorcycles to demand the resignation of senators in Thailand who did not vote for Move Forward Party prime ministerial nominee Pita Limjaroenrat on Thursday last week.
Demonstrators assembled at Democracy Monument first, then marched to the headquarters of the navy, army, and police.
The chiefs of the armed forces and police, as well as the chief of the defence forces and the permanent secretary for defence, were all absent from the joint sitting of the House and Senate last Thursday, when parliamentarians voted on Mr Pita, the Move Forward Party’s sole prime ministerial candidate.
Leading the protest, activist Arnon Nampa stated that if those senators resigned, Mr Pita would be able to become prime minister with a simple majority vote in both the House and Senate.
“It (the resignation) would reduce senators’ votes, and the number of (majority) votes needed to elect pro-democracy parties would be lower than 376,” Mr Arnon added.
The constitution, created by the military, allows 250 unelected senators to vote for prime minister alongside 500 elected House representatives.
Mr Arnon urged senators to support Mr Pita in the next round of prime ministerial elections. He stated that Mr Pita was the prime ministerial candidate of the eight political allies who had a 312 out of 500 vote majority in the House.
“We ask senators who will vote in the next round to respect the people’s choice by supporting the eight coalition parties,” he stated.
Last Thursday, only 13 of 249 senators voted in favour of Mr Pita.
Demonstrators, according to Mr Arnon, provided spiritual support to the 312 House lawmakers and 13 senators who voted for Mr Pita last week.
Concerning the vehicle rally on Sunday, the activist expressed optimism that the event will motivate people around the country to come out and show their support for their preferred candidate in the May 14 general election.
“I would like people to get up and fight for a national administration led by a pro-democracy government,” Mr Arnon said.
“The most politically legitimate person (as new prime minister) is Mr Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the Move Forward Party, which won the election,” he stated.
He asked the coalition’s eight parties to stick together. People will curse them if the Move Forward Party or the Pheu Thai Party join forces with any political party from the caretaker administration, according to Mr Arnon.
The two main parties in the eight-party coalition partnership are the MFP and Pheu Thai.
The car rally was scheduled to arrive in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in Pathumwan after visiting the army, naval, and police offices.
Changing Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code
Meanwhile, MPs from the Move Forward Party (MFP) have affirmed that they will work to change the lese majeste law because their party vowed to do so during the election campaign and voters supported them.
MFP list MP Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn stated on social media that his party would keep the pledges it made to the people if they did not.
“If we break our promises in order to ascend to power, the people who are the boss and have been on our side will abandon, even curse us,” he wrote.
Mr Wiroj was presumably responding to a recent statement by certain legislators that they would vote for MFP prime ministerial candidate Pita Limjaroensuk if the party dropped its Section 112 modification agenda.
Mr Wiroj promised that changing Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste statute, would be done thoughtfully, with input from all parties involved, and that the MFP would alter it in accordance with parliamentary rules.
He wrote that change will take time.
Move Forward MP for Bangkok Sasinan Thammanithinan stated that the party vowed to alter the law during its election campaign. He claimed that the party’s win in the general election on May 14 demonstrated that people agreed with it.
The change may not be a priority in the first few years of the incoming administration, but MFP wanted to begin the process regardless of the outcome, he added.