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Thailand’s Government Vows to Outlaw Military Coups

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Coups in Thailand are a crime against humanity and democracy
Coups are a crime against humanity and democracy: Image Bangkok Post

Thailand’s ruling Pheu Thai Party has committed to revise the military-sponsored constitution and advocate for anti-coup legislation to ensure that military takeovers are no longer tolerated and coup leaders are not recognized as “ratthathipat” (“sovereign”).

Pheu Thai said in a statement commemorating the tenth anniversary of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s May 22, 2014 coup that coups are illegal, damage democracy, and cost the country chances.

The party stated that it does not embrace coups or other measures that could lead to the military overturning an elected government, and it does not favor amnesty for coup leaders.

Coups are a crime against humanity and democracy, and they have never resulted in prosperity rather than setting the country back, the party said in a statement delivered by spokesman Danuporn Punnakanta on Tuesday.

The party asked courts and other state agencies to forsake any notion that a coup can result in a legal administration, and stated that it will advocate for the passage of legislation prohibiting their recognition as legitimate, with an indefinite statute of limitations.

Chusak Sirinil, Pheu Thai deputy leader, stated that the moment has come to alter the 2017 charter, which was created following the 2014 coup.

Prime minister to suspend top officers

He stated that the party expects the new charter would include safeguards to prevent future coups before the government’s term finishes. According to Mr Chusak, the proposed anti-coup law attempts to prevent coups from taking place.

“It is wrong to accept coup leaders as ‘ratthathipat’ and allow them to control the country. It’s critical that people speak out against it,” he stated.

Last month, the Defence Council, presided over by Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang, accepted a proposal authorizing the prime minister to suspend top officers accused of preparing a military coup. The idea would be sent to the government before being presented to parliament for consideration.

In a similar development, Move Forward Party MP Parit Wacharasindhu stated that three key concerns must be addressed: the “expanded power” of public independent institutions under the 2017 charter, military changes, and economic structures.

He stated that the opposition party has presented laws on these matters and expects them to be included on the House agenda.

He also stated that the party is prepared to examine government-sponsored revisions to the Referendum Act during the special parliament sitting next month.

Thailand’s Move Forward Party Launches New Agenda

Meanwhile, the Move Forward Party (MFP) hopes to win between 270 and 300 MP seats in the upcoming election and has proposed a six-point plan to transform the country.

Pita Limjaroenrat, the main opposition party’s advisory chairman and list MP, stated at the first Policy Fest in Bangkok on Sunday that the MFP has carved out a program that includes solutions to immediate, priority issues for reforming the country.

The program would include promoting economic growth, cultivating knowledge to keep up with the changing world, improving the quality of life in rural communities, implementing thorough bureaucratic reform, and establishing a true democracy.

“I believe we can turn challenges into energy to drive the country forward,” he stated. “Like us or dislike us, we all confronted the reality of a lost decade under the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration, which took and held power until this year’s election. “The MFP won the polls fairly and squarely. [The party] did not pay a single baht to buy votes,” he stated.

Mr Pita reiterated that the MFP did not mind being in the opposing side.

In fact, he believes that working against the government with a proactive strategy may be even more fruitful. In a democracy, an active opposition can provide hope to the people. He admitted that the MFP still has a long way to go to better itself.

However, it must gain the people’s faith and confidence, and to do so, Mr Pita believes the party may need to grab the majority by gaining at least 270 MP seats, if not 300, in the next election.

That objective doubles the MFP’s 151 seats from last year’s election. There are 500 MP seats available in the House of Representatives.

According to the MFP’s chief counsel, an effective administration should lead agenda-centric initiatives rather than ministry-initiated ones.

Meanwhile, Mr Pita stated that the party was prepared to present additional documents after the Constitutional Court agreed to extend the deadline for the party’s dissolution lawsuit by another 15 days, to June 2.

The Election Commission (EC) petitioned for the MFP’s dissolution following a Constitutional Court verdict on January 31 that stated the MFP’s drive for revisions to Section 112 of the Criminal Code, widely known as the lese majeste statute, demonstrated an aim to destabilize the constitutional monarchy.

Mr Pita stated that if the MFP was disbanded, its MPs would likely join a new party.

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