6 June 2024

Move Forward party leader Pita Limjaroenrat announced today (Tuesday) that the party will push for amendment of the lèse majesté law, in line with “the changing context of Thai society”, and he hopes that senators will not use this as a reason to block his quest to become prime minister.

He said that any attempt by senators to use the lèse majesté issue to prevent him from becoming Thailand’s next prime minister would be tantamount to bringing the people in direct confrontation with the monarchy “which is inappropriate and dangerous”.

Pita led 149 new Move Forward party MPs to report to the secretariat of the House of Representatives this morning. Another party list MP elect, Natheepat Kulsetthasit, has resigned over a drink-drive incident.

The Move Forward party’s prime ministerial candidate said he is not worried about the various attempts to negate his quest for the premiership, adding that he is confident that he will get enough support of senators.

Beyond those of the Move Forward led coalition, Pita needs at additional 64 votes from senators and MPs to reach the 376-vote threshold to become prime minister.

Pita noted that there is still a lot of misunderstanding about the party’s policy on the lèse majesté law, adding that a number of senators now understand the party’s position after having talked with them.

He hopes senators will stick to principles when they vote.

Pita said that the number of House seats won by any particular party is less important than the intention of MPs to work for the public interest, adding that the party has several progressive bills, such as the bills for labourers, for gender equality and for ethnic minorities, to be put before parliament.

Meanwhile, secretary-general of the Lower House, Pornpit Petcharoen, said that parliament has deleted Natheepat Kulsetthasit from the Move Forward party’s list of party-list MPs, after the Criminal Court in Min Buri found her guilty of drinking and driving and gave her suspended jail term, a 4,000 baht fine and ordered her to do 12 hours of community service.

The total number of constituency and party-list MPs in the House now is 499, instead of 500. A new party-list candidate will move up to replace Natheepat within seven days of the appointment of the Speaker of the House.