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New Thai PM could be elected on August 4, but…

Thanathorn Thaksin

Fugitive, and former, Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra met with former Future Forward Leader and 2019 PM candidate Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit on Tuesday this week, adding more spice to the messy ingredients already in play for the next meeting of Parliament.

House Speaker and parliament president Wan Muhamad Noor Matha has called a meeting for next Friday, August 4, to elect Thailand’s’s next PM. Wan says that if the Constitutional Court rejects the petition challenging lawmakers’ blocking of Pita Limjaroenrat’s re-nomination, the vote can go ahead.

However, in the event that the court accepts the petition and issues an injunction, the PM vote will once more be postponed. In that case, Wan says, the Houses of Representatives and the Senate will instead deliberate Move Forward’s bill to remove Article 272 of the Constitution.

Move Forward is pushing for the removal of Article 272, which awards unelected senators the power to elect Thailand’s PM. This power, put in place by the outgoing junta, remains with senators until it expires in May 2024 and has successfully foiled Pita Limjaroenrat’s bid for PM, despite his party winning the most seats in the May 14 general election.

Only 13 senators out of 249 voted for Pita, due primarily to Move Forward’s election pledge to amend Thailand’s controversial lèse-majesté law, which prohibits criticism of the monarchy. The Constitutional Court judges will meet on Thursday, August 3, to decide whether to accept the petition to consider if blocking Pita was unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, Nation Thailand reports that Wan has dismissed suggestions that the planned return of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra might disrupt the process and timeline for electing a new leader.

“There is no connection.”

With the Move Forward Party having been left with no choice but to step aside and allow Pheu Thai to take the lead in forming a government, the party that came second in the election will submit its PM candidate at next week’s meeting.

Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday that a meeting was held with Thaksin Shinawatra in Hong Kong on Tuesday this week where long-time supporter of the Move Forward party (and the leader of the MFP precursor, the Future Forward Party), Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit met to discuss… well no one really knows. But it is believed that a ‘deal’ was made for Pheu Thai to form the next government with its old foes – BhumJaiThai and Palang Pracharat – with, perhaps, some members of Move Forward being considered for ministerial positions.

It’s all getting very messy but Thailand now has 6 days of ‘long weekend’ for the dust to settle and, perhaps, some final vote next Friday when things will become clear.

Probably not…

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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