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Thailand’s Progressive Move Forward Party Forms Coalition for Democratic Reforms and Policy Changes



Thailand's Progressive Move Forward Party Forms Coalition for Democratic Reforms and Policy Changes

(CTN News) – The progressive Move Forward Party in Thailand has signed a coalition agreement with seven other parties, promising to draught a new constitution, end monopolies, and legalize same-sex marriage if they are allowed to form a government. However, the agreement did not address a controversial proposal to revise royal insult laws.

Key Points of the Coalition Agreement in Thailand

After nine years of conservative, military-backed administration, the coalition presented a 23-point accord on Monday outlining its policy aims and priorities as it seeks backing among parliamentarians to form a government.

In a resounding rejection of the royalist military-backed parties that have controlled the country since a coup in 2014, the populist parties Move Forward, and Pheu Thai topped last week’s election.

“This is another historic moment that shows we can transform the government to democracy peacefully,” said Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat, who is running for prime minister of Thailand. This MOU is intended to serve as a record of the signatories’ shared goals and legislative priorities.

Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha came to power in a military coup nine years ago, on the day of the signing.

Move Forward’s Plan for Democratic Transformation and Policy Priorities

With the support of young voters who are interested in the party’s platform—which includes a plan to amend a lese-majeste law that punishes perceived insults of the monarchy with up to 15 years in jail—Move Forward emerged as the surprise winner of the May 14 election, emerging with the most parliament seats. The Prayuth regime has been accused of using this law to silence its critics.

Members of the Move Forward Party alliance have expressed concerns, and there was no mention of changing that statute in the deal reached on Monday.

Instead, it reaffirmed the country’s “status as a democracy under a constitutional monarchy framework, and the inviolable status of the monarch.”

On Monday, Pita said he did not believe the upper house would reject the coalition’s plan to choose a prime minister and form a government despite his party’s unilateral attempt to pursue a modification of lese-majeste laws.

The eight-party coalition has a large majority in the lower house (313 MPs), but it is not enough to guarantee it can assume power. The 250 members of the Senate were nominated by the post-coup military government, and together with the lower house, they voted on who will serve as prime minister. That’d require a minimum of 376 votes for the victorious candidate.

The lese majeste controversy has caused several senators to announce that they will not support Pita.

Pita said he has a team ready to explain how Move Forward Party intends to alter the law, “so it cannot be used as a political tool,” adding that this “will ease the concern of senators.”

Most of Move Forward’s signature policies, such as creating a new, more democratic constitution, legalizing same-sex marriage, decentralizing administrative power, and replacing mandatory military service with voluntary service “except when the country is at war,” are included in the coalition’s agreement.

After Thailand’s poorly executed de facto decriminalization last year, the document calls for reforms to the police, military, civil service, and justice system; the elimination of business monopolies, especially in brewing and other alcohol production; and the restoration of controls on the production and sale of marijuana.

It also aims to restore Thailand’s position as an ASEAN leader through a more even-handed foreign policy and improvements in welfare and education.

“all parties have the right to advocate for additional policies as long as they do not contradict the policies outlined in this agreement.”


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