13 July 2024

Former Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has vowed to carry on reaching for the party’s unfinished objectives, to stop the junta from prolonging its stay in power, to reform the military and to amend the current Constitution among others, through the setting up of the Khana Anakhot Mai (Future Forward group).

As defiant as ever, Thanathorn, referring to the Constitutional Court’s ruling to dissolve the party and banish its executive committee from politics for 10 years, said “This is not the time to regret or to cry because the Future Forward party is more than a political party. They want to destroy us. This is the time to prove that they cannot.  We must be stronger than we were, stand firm.  Do not change your mind.  Do not lose your fire.  Do not stop dreaming because Future Forward is our soul, the people, the journey.  Today the vehicle named Future Forward party is gone, but the people must journey on.”

The Khaba Anakhot Mai, said Thanathorn, is the confluence of different groups of people to continue the ideology of the Future Forward party.

Besides the Khana Anakhot Mai, he said he would set up a foundation dedicated to educational development and environment issues.

“Today is not the day for us to stop walking, but a day we start to walk in a new way,” he said.

Thanathorn offered his apologies to the party’s supporters for not being able to fulfil its objectives, but he maintained that, in the past eighteen months, when the party was still functioning, all executive committee members, including himself, had done their best to meet the objectives.

At the end of his speech to party and executive committee members, who all wore black in mourning over court’s ruling, Thanathorn handed the party’s baton, in the form of a pin bearing the party’s symbol, to MP Pitha Limcharoenrat.

The rising star in Thai politics, Pitha, who succeeds Thanathorn as the leader of a new party, said “The road ahead is not strewn with rose petals, but we will not give up.  Even though we fumble, we fumble forward.  We must move on.

Former party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul said he disagreed with the charter court’s ruling, insisting that this was his honest opinion, not contempt of court.

He said the court’s ruling today has sent a message that Thailand does not recognize a party which has creativity and forward thinking about national structural reform.

Thailand, he said, chose to use legal weapons to destroy political enemies, adding that those who believe banishing him and Thanathorn from politics will end their political struggle were wrong, because the two of them will be more active in politics outside parliament.