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Pita loses PM bid, second round of voting to take place next week

Pita PM Thailand Election

The leader of the political party that won the most votes in Thailand’s May 14 general election has failed in his bid to become prime minister after a full day of debate in the Thai parliament yesterday.

Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat failed to secure the necessary number of votes from opposition parties or senators appointed by the junta after the 2017 Charter was promulgated.

Voting for the country’s next PM kicked off around 4pm yesterday, July 13, with Pita the sole candidate. Nation Thailand reports that voting was carried out openly and the results tallied by a committee of 6 MPs. Voting continued for 2 hours, at which point Parliament conclude that Pita had not secured enough votes to become PM.

The MFP leader needed a minimum of 375 votes and received a total of 324, most of which came from the 8-party Move Forward-led coalition. There were 182 votes against him and 199 abstentions.

Out of 250 senators appointed by the outgoing military junta, only 13 voted for Pita as PM. 39 voted against him, 159 abstained, and another senator resigned the day before the vote. The next round of voting has been set for July 19, with a third round tentatively scheduled for July 20.

Pita has responded to the outcome by saying he refuses to give up. The MFP leader says he’s focused on the next round of voting and winning over more voters. He also thanked the 13 senators who did vote for him. Asked if he’d be willing to be in the opposition if he can’t become PM, he said it was too early to consider such a situation.

There’s one thing he’s standing firm on, despite it being the main stumbling block to him becoming PM. While campaigning in the general election, the Move Forward Party pledged to reform section 112 of the Criminal Code if elected. Better known as Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, section 112 prohibits criticism of the monarchy.

MPF has vowed to reform the law to prevent it being used for political purposes, which critics of the outgoing government have accused them of doing. This policy has led many senators and conservative politicians to state that they will not vote for Pita as PM.

Asked about his stance on the law yesterday, Pita remained steadfast. He says he will continue to support reforming the law as this was a promise made to the people of Thailand.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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