23 May 2024

Progressive Group boss Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit announced in parliament today that he will continue his campaign, urging members of the public to apply for senatorial candidacy, in defiance of the Election Commission’s (EC) warning that his political activities are illegal.

The former leader of the now defunct Future Forward party, predecessor of the Move Forward party, said that his campaign is intended to make people aware and understand the importance of the forthcoming election of 200 new senators, to replace the current junta-appointed Senate, whose five-year term expires on May 10.

He claims that the feedback to the campaign is encouraging, as more people become interested in applying as independent candidates.

Dismissing the allegation that he belongs to a political group, which has hidden agenda for the Senate election, Thanathorn claimed that the objective of his campaign is to urge people of all political shades to apply so that the election will produce qualified senators who will serve the public interest as priority.

He said that he does not want the EC, Constitutional Court or the National Anti-Corruption Commission to take sides and to remain neutral.

Instead of implying that his group has interfered in the Senate election, Thanathorn urged the EC to support his group’s campaign, claiming that the EC’s role is to encourage the people to be aware of the importance of the election.

The EC has also threatened to close the website of iLaw, which is offering free space on social media for people interested in applying for senatorial candidacy, so they can identify themselves to the public and declare their political positions.

Thanathorn added that he does not understand why the EC wants to block the people from having access to information about the candidates.

The EC has designed an unprecedented senatorial election system, under which only the candidates are allowed to vote for senators among themselves, through three rounds of voting, at district, provincial and national levels.

Candidates must belong to one of 20 specified professional groups. Representatives of political parties and groups are not allowed to apply.