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Sunday, June 11, 2023
Bangkok News

Move Forward Party (MFP) shifts focus to Thai Senate affairs

The Move Forward Party (MFP) is currently lobbying senators to support its leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, in his bid to become the next prime minister. The party aims to form a coalition government with the help of other political groups. Previously, the MFP had been vocal in its criticism of the Senate, which was appointed after a coup, and had called for its power to be nullified in the process of selecting a prime minister as mandated by the constitution. However, the party has now changed its stance and is seeking the Senate’s support.

According to the 2017 constitution, a minimum of 376 votes is required for the joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate to elect a prime minister.

To secure more votes, Mr Pita may need to seek support from other parties or senators. The MFP secretary-general, Chaithawat Tulathon, stated that the party is willing to engage in discussions with senators to address any concerns they may have. Mr Chaithawat believes that some senators’ worries may be unfounded and that talking will help to alleviate their concerns. He expressed confidence that there are mature senators who do not want to see a political deadlock.

Previously, some senators expressed apprehension about the MFP’s intention to revise or eliminate Section 112 of the charter, which pertains to the lese majeste law. When asked about the House Speaker, Mr Chaithawat stated that a member of the MFP should fill the role as the party won the most House seats.

Regarding the formation of a coalition government, Mr Chaithawat mentioned that Mr Pita announced a plan to create a coalition government consisting of five former opposition parties and one new party, with a combined total of 310 MPs and Mr Pita as the prime minister. The MFP has not approached the Chartthaipattana Party to join the coalition.

Today, Mr Chaithawat is scheduled to meet with prominent figures from six parties – MFP, Pheu Thai, Thai Sang Thai, Prachachart, Seri Ruam Thai, and the Fair Party – to discuss the formation of a coalition government, according to a source.

On Tuesday, Pheu Thai candidate for prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, took to Facebook to urge other parties, particularly the Bhumjaithai Party and the Democrats, to support Mr Pita for prime minister without relying on senators’ support. Mr Srettha expressed his hope for all parties to honor the public’s mandate by voting for Mr Pita, and personally endorsed him as the ideal candidate from the Move Forward Party.

Many parties, including Bhumjaithai and the Democrats, have opposed the 2017 constitution’s provision allowing senators to participate in the vote for prime minister. As such, the leader urged them to vote for Mr Pita as the 30th prime minister in a true democracy, without relying on the 250 senators’ votes.

Former House speaker Chuan Leekpai responded to Mr Pita’s call for support, saying that each party should think for itself.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam suggested that a new coalition government could be formed through mutual respect and courteous negotiations. He added that generosity could make any wish come true.

The Move Forward Party, which won the most House seats, is responsible for forming the new government. The senators’ views are negotiable, and the Election Commission will verify the election results within two months. Afterward, the House will convene, and the parliament president will be appointed.