BANGKOK – Thailand Billionaire and co-founder of the newly-registered Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, has been unanimously voted the party leader.
A total of 474 members voted for Thanathorn to become party leader at the party’s first public meeting at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus in Pathum Thani on Sunday. They also elected 17 executive committee members to oversee their election campaign.
According to Future Forward staff, around 2,000 people attended the meeting, including non-voting supporters and co-founding members.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) last month allowed 13 newly-registered parties to conduct meetings, after the Election Commission reportedly did not provide official registration papers to the parties within 30 days of each party’s registration request.
Mr Thanathorn, the scion of Thai auto parts manufacturing giant Thai Summit Group, received 473 votes to appoint him as leader — the only vote he did not receive being his own.
Thammasat University law lecturer Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, another co-founder, was appointed secretary-general in a move expected by many academics and pundits. The former key member of the progressive Nitirat group received 472 votes for him to take up the position.
After Future Forward’s executive committee was chosen in the morning, indoor exhibitions and other activities were held in the afternoon.
Orange flags signifying the party’s colour scheme were given to attendees while speeches were given by party members on the main stage.
“There are only nine months until the next election — that is, if there will actually be one,” Mr Thanathorn said. “I have already travelled to 18 provinces to meet locals and listen to their problems.
“I promise that Future Forward will travel to all 77 provinces to ensure we spread our message as widely as possible.”
The onlooking crowd were heard cheering loudly whenever the event moderators talked about Mr Thanathorn becoming the next prime minister.
One of Future Forward’s main policies is not accepting an “outsider PM,” which refers to any person outside the winning party who is brought in to take the post of premier.