July 17, 2023
BANGKOK – Move Forward Party supporters launched a car rally on Sunday to demand the resignation of senators who were absent during the Parliament vote for PM on Thursday.
The protest, led by political activist Arnon Nampa, began at Democracy Monument at 1pm, with motorists heading for the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in Pathum Wan district.
Arnon said he called the rally to demand that the senators who failed to show up in Parliament on Thursday resign, so Move Forward PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat will not need 375 votes to be elected as prime minister.
The charter requires the PM to be elected with a simple majority of votes from both chambers. Now there are 500 MPs and 249 senators, as one senator resigned last Wednesday.
On Thursday, 206 senators responded to the roll call, with 43 absent. Of those present, only 13 voted for Pita, 34 voted against and 159 abstained.
The supreme commander, the chiefs of the three armed forces and the National Police chief were among those absent from the meeting.
Arnon said his group wanted to submit the demand for resignation to the armed forces’ leaders and National Police chief personally, so the procession would move to the relevant headquarters before heading to the art centre.
The activist added that the rally was aimed at pushing the senators to respect the people’s voices expressed in the May 14 election, in which Move Forward won with 151 MPs.
“This activity is meant to step up pressure on senators. We want to remind senators and MPs to have the right political conscience,” Arnon said. “And we want to tell all Thais to realise the importance of their votes.”
He said the outcome of the PM vote on Thursday was tantamount to Thais being robbed of the votes they cast on May 14.
“So, the people should join forces to fight again so their choice of government can be formed to run the country,” Arnon said.
He added that if Pita failed to win enough votes again in the second round of voting on Wednesday, the eight coalition partners should remain united to push for Pita’s election, as the Move Forward leader has the highest legitimacy to become PM.
Arnon said he does not expect the partners to switch sides and form a coalition without Move Forward, as they will not be able to explain this move to their supporters and constituents.
“It’s unlikely to happen that way because each party is shouldering the dreams of voters,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pol Colonel Thossapol Amphaipipatkul, commander of the Samrarnrat Police Station, said Arnon’s group had sought police permission to hold the car rally from Democracy Monument to the art centre.
Thossapol said the demonstrators were told not to block the traffic flow or intersections. He said police allocated a specific lane for the demonstrators to move on to minimise the impact on traffic flow, and police would monitor them until they reach their destination.