Thailand’s Pheu Thai party, which received the second most votes in the election, has indicated that it will try to create a coalition without the Move Forward party (MFP) and will name Mr. Srettha Thavisin as prime minister in the August 4, 2023 parliamentary vote.
During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Pheu Thai party leader Cholnan Srikaew stated that after the eight-party alliance designated Pheu Thai to lead the formation of the government, the party attempted to garner support from MPs of non-coalition parties and senators, but they reject the plan to amend Section 112, the royal defamation law, and some parties will not join a government with MFP.
Pheu Thai met with the MFP negotiation team this morning to resign from the eight-party alliance. It will create its own coalition, with Srettha Thavisin running for prime minister.
Pheu Thai confirms that the party will not modify Section 112 because it is a key barrier to gaining support from MPs and senators, and the new administration will not include the MFP.
Tomorrow afternoon, the parties that will join the Pheu Thai-led administration will be officially announced. Some parties from the former coalition partnership have already agreed, and the parliamentary vote for Srettha as a new prime minister is anticipated to be completed on August 4.
He stated that the focus will be on garnering enough support to benefit the country and its people. The idea entails amending the current constitution, which has been a root cause of difficulty in establishing a government and has contributed to the nation’s dilemma.
The constitution drafting council will be established through a referendum. Dr. Cholnan stated that after the process is completed, power would be returned to the people and a new election will be held under the framework of the new constitution.
Meanwhile, the Pheu Thai party will push forward the people-friendly policies endorsed by the former coalition alliance, such as marriage equality, liberalisation of spirits production, transitioning from conscription to voluntary military service, decentralisation of power, and the abolition of monopolies.
Srettha Thavisin stated that any PM candidate selected by any party who continues to seek to modify Section 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the lese majeste statute, will not have senators’ support.
“If Pheu Thai nominates me for the next prime ministerial vote, Section 112 must remain unchanged.” Pheu Thai has stated unequivocally that it will not change or repeal the law.
“The party wishes to form a new government and advance the country.” It is critical to ease tensions surrounding Section 112.
“Today, addressing the day-to-day issues affecting people’s lives is a top priority.” “Improving the economy must come first,” Mr Srettha stated.
Several senators have declared they will not vote for Mr Srettha after watching a video recording of him indicating during a campaign event ahead of the May 14 election that he would support Section 112’s change.
Mr. Srettha later backtracked, claiming Pheu Thai would not touch Section 112 if it led the new government, just one day after parliament rejected Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s renomination for prime minister on July 19.
On July 20, Mr. Srettha stated that the Section 112 modification must not be tied to the eight prospective coalition parties’ new quest to win the prime ministerial vote; otherwise, the candidate nominated by the bloc would not have the necessary support from senators and parties outside the bloc.
Section 112 revision would be off the table if Pheu Thai becomes the leader of the eight-party group, he claimed.
The MFP’s desire to change Section 112 was viewed as a crucial reason in Mr Pita’s failure to garner sufficient support from MPs and senators in the first vote on July 13.
A PM candidate must receive the backing of at least half of the 750 members of both the lower and upper chambers of parliament, or 376 votes in total, according to the constitution.
Linthiporn Warinwatchararoj, a Pheu Thai party-list MP and acting party spokeswoman, said on Tuesday that Mr Srettha stated on July 20 that any attempt to change Section 112 would be a big impediment to Pheu Thai’s bid to create a government.
According to a Pheu Thai source, the party will publish a statement before of Friday’s vote to reinforce its position that it will not support any motion to change Section 112 and had initially opposed the MFP’s bid to include it in the MoU.
Senator Jadet Insawang stated that if Mr Srettha is nominated for prime ministerial election on Friday, he should be asked to define his vision before the vote, and members of parliament should be able to question the candidate before voting.
Parliament president Wan Muhamad Noor Matha earlier stated that parliament would meet on Friday, but whether the new vote for prime minister takes place on that day will be determined by a Constitutional Court judgement the day before.
The court will decide whether to accept a petition challenging Mr Pita’s renomination as prime minister. If accepted, the vote will not take place until the court rules.