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Calls for legal action against politicians that blocked Pita PM vote

Pita PM Thailand Election

Suffice to say, this Thursday’s next attempt to vote for a new PM is in doubt.

The leader of political group Thai Mai Thon (“Impatient Thais”) is calling for legal action against parliamentarians who prevented Pita Limjaroenrat from becoming PM.

Sawet Thinnakul, who was also involved in the drafting of the 2007 Constitution, has delivered a letter to the National Anti-Corruption Commission in which he accuses the MPs and senators who refused to vote for Pita of a dereliction of duty.

The Move Forward Party won the most votes in Thailand’s May 14 general election, but party leader Pita has been blocked from becoming PM by conservative opposition MPs and the majority of senators.

Sawet has slammed the current Constitution (2017 Charter), drafted by the outgoing military junta, which accords senators (appointed by the same junta) the power to vote for Thailand’s PM in a joint sitting of the Thai parliament. There have already been two joint sittings in the past two weeks – both have failed to elect a new Thai PM.

“There is no country in this world that allows appointed senators to take part in the vote to pick the country’s leader.”

The current Senators in Thailand were all hand-picked by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and the military government after a new Charter in 2017.

According to a Nation Thailand report, Sawet says any MP or senator who failed to support the Move Forward leader’s PM bid is in breach of Article 157.

“Whoever, being an official, wrongfully exercises or does not exercise any of his functions to the injury of any person, or dishonestly exercises or omits to exercise any of his functions, shall be punished with imprisonment of one to ten years or fined of two thousand to twenty thousand baht, or both.” – Translation of Article 157 courtesy of Siam Legal.

Most of those who voted against Pita, or abstained, did so to register their objection to MFP’s campaign pledge to reform Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, which prohibits criticism of the monarchy. Sawet says such reform is normal and can be done, urging MFP not to backtrack on its promise to the people.

Now that Pita has had to take a step back, Pheu Thai, the number 2 party in the 8-party MFP-led coalition, has taken over trying to form a government. The party has already come under fire for cosying up to pro-junta political parties as it seeks support for its PM candidate.

Sawet has warned the party not to align itself with such parties, saying to do would be to betray the people. He reminded the party that prior to the election, the party’s top PM candidate, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, promised that Pheu Thai would not go into government with military-backed parties.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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