11 July 2024

A senate committee set up a working panel on Thursday to study controversial issues related to Move Forward’s leader and potential prime minister Pita Limjaroenrat, including his anti-establishment position.

The Senate committee on political development and public participation will complete its work in one month and submit the results to the Election Commission (EC), said committee member Chadej Insawang.

Chadej said, during a telephone interview with Channel 3 TV, that one of the studies will focus on Pita’s intentions regarding the monarchy.

Pita’s party won the largest share of parliamentary seats in the recent general election, making him eligible to be the country’s prime minister.

He is in the process of forming a coalition to govern, which could amass a voting bloc of 313 votes in the House. He needs 376 members in a joint sitting to vote for him to become the prime minister.

Some members of the military-appointed Senate have vowed not to vote for him, because of his stance regarding the monarchy.

Pita is facing another obstacle on his path to the premiership, as the EC is investigating an allegation that Pita holds 42,000 shares in ITV Plc, which is a media firm. The Constitution prohibits owners or shareholders of media firms from running for political office.

Chadej accepted that the Senate committee’s move to study these issues is a clear sign of opposition to Pita’s bid to take the helm of the country.

Meanwhile, one senator, a retired general, told Thai PBS World that Pita’s anti-establishment position would be taken into account by senators.

“I have to admit that many senators are wary of the political attitude of these young politicians,” he said, referring to Pita’s anti-establishment rhetoric and his persistent call for reform or repeal of the lèse majesté law.

He said, however, that there have not yet been serious talks among senators on the issue of choosing the next prime minister. “As far as I know, some senators might have talked among themselves in the aftermath of the election, but I am not aware of any real talks on the issue among the senators,” he said.

“What I can say is that most of senators were chosen for the job because (the military junta) knew at the outset what their political thinking was. So, you can guess what stand they will take when it comes to choosing the next prime minister,” he added.