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Thailand’s Senators Oppose Move Forward Party’s PM Candidate

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Thailand's Senators Oppose Move Forward Party's PM Candidate

The Move Forward Party’s bid to form a coalition government in Thailand may face challenges after senators stated their opposition to Pita Limjaroenrat as a prime ministerial nominee.

Thailand’s constitution allows the 250 senators nominated by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to vote alongside MPs in parliament to elect a prime minister for Thailand.

After the election on Sunday, they will co-elect a prime minister for the second and final time. In the 2019 election, they voted alongside MPs to elect Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as Prime Minister.

Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the MFP, revealed on Monday a plan to establish a coalition government with five former opposition parties and one new party, a total of 310 MPs, with himself as prime minister.

Mr Pita made the declaration after the Election Commission proclaimed the MFP the winner of the most seats in the general election on Sunday, with 152 MPs (113 from constituencies and 39 from the party list).

He stated that he saw the victory as a mandate from the people for his party to lead the formation of the next administration.

Paethongtarn Shinawatra and Pita Limjaroenrat

Pheu Thai Paetongtarn Shinawatra join hands with Move Forward Pita Limjaroenrat to form a new Thai government

Mr Pita stated that he called Paetongtarn Shinawatra, a Pheu Thai prime ministerial candidate, to congratulate her on her campaign determination and to invite her party to join a coalition.

Ms Paetongtarn, in turn, commended Move Forward and stated that the media should be notified that the two parties had discussed transparency.

Thai Sang Thai, Prachachart, and Seri Ruam Thai were the three other former opposition parties he contacted. The five parties gained a total of 309 MP seats.

Mr Pita stated that he was in contact with Pen Tham, or the Fair Party, which has one party-list MP, to invite them to join the alliance. He described the party as having fought hard for peace in the three southernmost border regions.

According to him, the six parties would have 310 MPs in total, enough to form a majority government.

“We would form the government as soon as possible to avoid a political and economic vacuum.” Please be assured that Move Forward will be quick and thorough,” Mr Pita said.

When asked if Move Forward was afraid that senators would not vote in support of the coalition to satisfy the requisite 376 votes for prime minister, Mr Pita stated the party has a mandate from the people.

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Senator Jadet Insawang, on the other hand, stated that when he was elected to the Senate, he swore an oath to uphold the constitutional monarchy.

“The MFP and Mr Pita previously stated that they would repeal Section 112 [the lese majeste law], which would have an impact on the monarchy.” “This is intolerable,” he remarked.

“There is no need to seek Senate support for [a prime ministerial candidate] if the MFP receives the support of 376 MPs [more than half of the 750 members of the Lower and Upper Houses].” However, if they only obtain 309, they will be forced to.

“If Mr Pita, the MFP’s prime ministerial candidate, is nominated for a vote in parliament,” Mr Jadet remarked, “he will not get my vote.”

Senator Kittisak Rattanawaraha stated that senators would scrutinise any prime ministerial candidate nominated for a vote in parliament.

“One of the qualifications is that the candidate must be loyal to his or her country, religion, and monarchy,” he explained.

He went on to remark that commenting on the composition of a coalition administration is premature.

“Senators only consider how the country will be, whether there will be problems, conflicts, or protests if they vote for someone to be prime minister.” We must consider numerous factors.

“The senators will make a decision in the best interests of the country,” Mr Kittisak said.

Another senator, Chalermchai Fuengkorn, stated that any party with the most seats must have the backing of 376 MPs in order to select a prime ministerial candidate and avoid the Senate.

“If they can also bring some other parties, such as Bhumjaithai, into their coalition, the Senate will be rendered meaningless,” he said. “However, if they cannot muster sufficient support and some senators abstain from voting, their attempt to form a coalition will fail.”

Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, secretary-general of the Open Forum for Democracy Foundation (P-Net), urged all parties to respect the people’s mandate in the election and for the Senate to follow the House of Representatives’ majority vote to nominate a Prime Minister candidate.

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