6 June 2024

Two senators, who had implied that they would vote for the Move Forward party leader to become prime minister, said Thursday that they have changed their minds.

Senators Chalermchai Fuangkhon and Songdet Samerkum said, in separate interviews, that the change is entirely due to the party’s stance against the royal institution and its policy to amend the lèse majesté law.

Both said that, if Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat changed both stances, they are ready to vote for him as the next premier.

Chalermchai gave an interview two days after the general election in May, saying that he would vote for the prime ministerial candidate of the party with more than 250 House votes. Songdet had the same position.

Move Forward and its coalition parties managed to garner 312 MPs in the election and are attempting to form the new government, with Pita as the prime minister.

To be elected, however, Pita needs 64 additional votes from non-coalition parties or the Senate in the July 13 joint sitting.

It is unlikely that he will obtain enough support from the Senate, due to his party’s insistence on amending the lèse majesté law, which was an election manifesto pledge.

Chalermchai said in an interview with a Channel 3 News programme that, after taking into consideration Move Forward’s position on the lèse majesté law, he has changed his mind and will not vote for Pita.

“I cannot vote for him anymore. If Pita gives up on the amendment, however, I am ready to raise my hand for him,” he said.

Chalermchai claimed he has learnt that there are no more than 10 senators who will vote for Pita.

“Move Forward representatives have tried to contact and lobby many senators to vote for Pita. From what I know, they said they would consider the issue during the joint sitting,” he added.

Songdet said today that, if Pita still insists on amending the lèse majesté law, he would not vote for him to be the premier. The lèse majesté law cannot be not be touched, revoked or amended, Songdet said.