UPDATE: Pita Limjaroenrat has resigned as leader of the Move Forward Party, just days after being included in the list of TIME Magazine’s 100 Next list. He announced he was standing aside to make way for his successor to take up the post of opposition leader.
In his announcement on his Facebook page today he said he “cannot accept the position of opposition leader due to his suspension by the Constitutional Court from performing his duties as an MP.”
“I have decided to step down from my position as the MFP leader, allowing the party to select an MP capable of assuming the role of ‘opposition leader’ to replace me as party leader.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of Thailand’s Move Forward party, known for his near-ascension to the position of Thailand’s 30th prime minister, has earned a place on Time magazine’s prestigious “TIME100 Next” list for the year 2023. He is the only Thai on this year’s list.
Pita stands as the sole Thai representative in this exclusive list compiled by the US-based magazine, recognising influential individuals who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership worldwide. The list is categorised into five segments – Artists, Phenoms, Innovators, Advocates and Leaders.
Time’s Charlie Campbell highlighted Pita Limjaroenrat’s remarkable electoral victory and the bold agenda he pursued to achieve it. The Harvard-educated leader led the upstart Move Forward Party to secure an impressive 38% of the votes in Thailand’s polls held on May 14 this year. The party’s platform centered on promises to rein in the nation’s armed forces, reform the revered royal institution, abolish the contentious royal-defamation law and put an end to military conscription.
However, as Campbell noted, the stacked Senate, and military-weighted 2017 Constitution in Thailand posed hurdles in Pita’s path to power.
Pita Limjaroenrat revealed that his political awakening began during his time in New Zealand, where he received his education. Although he may not have secured the prime minister’s office in his first attempt, he remains at the forefront of the reformist movement, which is gaining momentum, particularly among the youth in Thailand.
“I’m proud of what we have achieved… We can do a lot more to provide checks and balances in parliament and speak on behalf of the people.”
It is worth noting that Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the leader of the now-defunct Future Forward Party, which served as the precursor to the Move Forward Party, also made the TIME100 Next list in the same category back in 2019.
Pita Limjaroenrat’s recognition by Time magazine underscores his significant impact on Thai politics and his role as a prominent leader in shaping the nation’s future.