(CTN News) – In Thailand, hundreds of pro-democracy protesters gathered on Sunday to express their support for Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the Move Forward party.
Move Forward won the May election with strong backing from the youth, advocating for anti-establishment policies that included military reform, ending business monopolies, and amending the royal insult law, which shields the monarchy from criticism.
Despite the electoral victory, Parliament has twice blocked Pita Limjaroenrat, a Harvard-educated individual aged 42, from assuming the position of prime minister. His supporters claim that this results from unfair rules imposed against him.
In a passionate display of support, an activist addressed the crowd at a busy intersection in central Bangkok, declaring their commitment to fighting for democratic principles regardless of the time it takes. The attendees responded with resounding cheers and chants of “Pita! Pita! Pita!”
Move Forward forms an eight-party coalition, with the populist Pheu Thai party among its allies, granting them a majority in the 500-member lower house. However, their policies have put them on a collision course with the nexus of the royalist military, old-money elites, and conservative factions in Thailand.
According to the military-drafted constitution, the next prime minister must secure more than half the votes in the bicameral legislature, which includes 249 members appointed by the junta following their seizure of power in 2014. These members have aligned themselves with conservative parties, further complicating the situation.
Another vote on the premiership is scheduled for Thursday, during which Move Forward’s coalition ally, Pheu Thai, is expected to propose real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin as a political newcomer candidate.
The ongoing protests and political tensions highlight the divisions within Thai society and the challenges faced by those advocating for democratic reforms and changes to traditional power structures.