A member of Thailand’s hand-picked Senate has predicted that the leader of the Move Forward Party “won’t even get 5 votes” from the 250 senators to back his bid for PM. Pita Limjaroenrat hopes to become Thailand’s next leader when the new PM is chosen, expected to happen on July 13.
Thailand’s current Senators were hand-picked by the 2014 coup leader and the NCPO after the 2017 Thai constitution was enacted. They have universally supported Thailand’s political status-quo and were installed, specifically, to keep conservative elements in charge of the Thai parliament at this time.
Senator Kittisak Rattanawaraha has dismissed Pita’s chances of being elected. According to him, most senators have “already decided they’ll either vote against Pita or abstain”. Kittisak also says Pita might not be the only contender, as any party that has won 25 or more House seats can put forward up to 3 candidates.
A campaign pledge by the Move Forward Party to reform Thailand’s lèse-majesté law is proving a step too far for Thailand’s old guard. The law, also known as Section 112 of the Criminal Code, prohibits criticism or defamation of the monarchy.
Pita has insisted that any change to the law would merely be to prevent it being used as a political tool. Critics of the outgoing government have accused caretaker PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, and his administration, of using the law to quell anti-government and pro-democracy protests.
Kittisak points out that should the Move Forward Party fail in its bid to form a government with its 7 coalition partners, Pheu Thai, as the party that got the second-highest number of House seats, could then take over attempts to create a new government.
In order to become PM, Pita needs at least 376 votes, from 750 parliamentarians. The 750 are made up of 500 MPs and 250 senators. The Move Forward leader has stated that he believes he will receive enough support from senators to allow him to become PM. He has also warned senators not to go against the will of the people.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post