11 July 2024

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has made dismantling of what he describes as the “legacy” of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) a major plank of the platform of his Future Forward Party.

And rewriting the Constitution that was adopted in a referendum in 2017 will be one of the first things that he vows to do if his party can muster enough political power in the upcoming general elections.

Speaking to ThaiPBS World in an interview on Thursday,  the 40-year-old businessman-turned-politician singled out the section of the Constitution related to the senate.  He said having senators from appointment rather through democratic election is an anachronism.

“It’s a setback for the country,” he said.   The Senate under the current Constitution is seen as a political base for the military which is expected to dominate the political scene even after the general elections.  Senators will have a say in picking the next prime minister.

Thanathorn said the 20-year national strategy is one of the legacies of the NCPO that needs to be done away with.  He said the strategy, which covers economic, social and security spheres, will tie the hands of future governments.

While Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha defends the strategy as something necessary to provide vision and continuity in running the country, Thanathorn sees it as a political straightjacket that would inhibit future administrations.

Thanathorn said dismantling the senate appointment system, the 20-year strategy and other legacies of the military will be among his top priorities.  And this is a prerequisite for any political alliance that the Future Forward would form.

“We are open to cooperating with any parties on the condition that they subscribe to this,” he said.

Attacking the military has become Thanathorn’s hallmark.  In practically every interview and international forum, Thanathorn pounds on the evils of military dictatorship.  In a recent forum in New York,  he blamed the military for the vicious political circle that Thailand has gone through over the decades.

Thanathorn claimed that his political message has resonated well with a lot of people who long for democracy and want to see an end to the political role of the military.