11 July 2024

The Move Forward Party, a political party known for its anti-establishment stance, has proposed a series of reforms as its platform for the next general elections that include amending the lese majeste law and military downsizing.

The party calls for amnesty for political offences and those jailed for violating Article 112 of the penal code which makes insulting the monarchy a criminal offence.

Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat unveild the party’s reform platform in nine areas in a press conference on Saturday. Pita said political reform is a prerequisite for serious changes that Thailand badly needs.

“We want to highlight political reform because if our politics is still in a bad state, we can’t expect to solve economic, social or other problems facing the country,” he said.

Party spokesman Rangsiman Rome said the party wants Article 112 to be amended so that it cannot be arbitrarily used for political purposes or to stifle freedom of expression.   It also wants to see a less severe penalty for offences under the article.

The party also calls for a blanket amnesty for all political offences dating back to 2014, the year the military toppled the Yingluck government in a military coup as well as those found guilty of lese majeste.  

The military is one of the party’s main targets for its reform programmes. Pijarn Chaowapattanawongse, a deputy leader of Move Forward, said the party is proposing that no former military officers can hold Cabinet portfolio within seven years of their retirement. “This is to put a stop to the tradition of military patronage system,” he said, referring to the practice of using military positions as a springboard for political power.

Pijarn said the party also wants an end to military conscription and a dissolution of the Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC), an all-powerful security unit that he said has a long history of power abuses.

The party also proposes that Buddhist monks be allowed to vote.