August 3, 2023
BANGKOK – Speculation became reality today as Pheu Thai Party announced that it was getting ready to form a government without Move Forward.
Pheu Thai’s decision to cancel the past two meetings signalled the lack of harmony between parties in the alliance.
Pheu Thai leader Chonlanan Srikaew told the press on Wednesday that his party had done all it could to push for Move Forward’s PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat, with every member of the party voting for him at the joint Parliament sitting on July 13. He said every Pheu Thai MP also voted for Pita when lawmakers argued over whether he could be renominated.
He explained that Pita, who has a Harvard degree under his belt, failed to win the PM’s post because his party sought to amend Article 112 of the Penal Code or lese majeste law. He said this was the main reason why most senators and other parties refused to vote for him.
“Hence, Pheu Thai would like to withdraw from the coalition and seek new alliances to form a government,” Chonlanan said.
This decision, however, was not welcomed by the party’s supporters, with many gathering outside the party headquarters to voice their discontent. The protesters also burned effigies and splashed red liquid.
Pheu Thai is the second biggest winner in the May 14 election, nabbing 141 seats in Parliament, compared to Move Forward which won 151 seats.
Now that it has backed away from the eight-party alliance, Pheu Thai will likely have no option but to join junta-backed parties to ensure sufficient parliamentary votes.
Pheu Thai has declared that it will not alter Article 112 in any way and will put forward former real-estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin as its sole PM candidate in the next round of voting on Friday.
Chonlanan said he was confident that Srettha will win the PM’s post that day, adding that details of the new coalition partners will be released on Thursday.
He also said that despite dropping Move Forward, Pheu Thai will uphold policies that both parties share, such as drafting a new charter, promoting equal marriage, reforming the military and dismantling monopolies, especially in the alcohol industry.
The next election will be held once the new Constitution has been written, Chonlanan said.
Pheu Thai deputy leader Phumtham Wechayachai, meanwhile, said it was up to Move Forward to decide whether it will back Srettha in the upcoming PM vote.