July 14, 2023
BANKGKOK – Move Forward Party’s prime minister candidate Pita Limjaroenrat on Thursday failed in his attempt to become Thailand’s 30th prime minister.
Pita received 323 votes, most of them from his eight-party coalition, falling short of the 376 he required. The second round of voting for PM is scheduled for July 19.
On Thursday, Parliament president Wan Muhamad Noor Matha opened the voting for the election of the prime minister at around 4pm after six hours of debate.
Pita was the lone candidate.
The voting process was conducted openly, with the results being counted by a committee consisting of six members of Parliament.
The voting process involved the disclosure and alphabetical listing of the attendees’ names. A total of 646 parliamentarians took part in the meeting — 216 senators and 460 members of the House of Representatives.
After two hours of voting, Parliament decided that Pita had not received the required minimum of 376 votes, therefore, he was not elected as the new prime minister.
Pita secured 324 votes, while 182 voted against him and 199 abstained.
Of the 250 junta-appointed senators, 13 voted for Pita, 39 voted against him, 159 abstained, while one senator had resigned just a day before the voting for PM.
A second and third voting will be held on July 19 and 20.
Pita told reporters later that he accepted the outcome of the vote but he would not give up.
He said that he was focusing on the next round of voting and would work towards devising a strategy to win over more voters in Parliament.
He dismissed as premature questions on whether he had given thought to being in the opposition if he was unable to become PM.
When asked about his stance on Article 112, which was the main argument advanced by many parties, including Bhumjaithai, and senators to not support his candidature, he said that he would continue to support amending the law as that is what he had promised the people.
He also thanked the 13 senators who had voted for him.
Pita said the unity shown by the parties of the Move Forward-led coalition in the voting showed the level of mutual trust.