August 1, 2023
BANGKOK – A senator who voted for Move Forward’s prime ministerial candidate says the party should renounce its push to amend the lese majesty law to help its coalition partner, Pheu Thai, win the next PM vote.
Senator Wanchai Sonsiri said on Monday he would vote for Pheu Thai’s PM candidate regardless of Move Forward’s position but added that disavowing its push could secure the parliamentary majority required for Pheu Thai’s candidate to become PM.
Wancha was one of only 13 senators who voted for Move Forward candidate Pita Limjaroenrat in the first round on July 13.
After Pita was blocked from contesting in the second round, election winner Move Forward passed the baton to runner-up Pheu Thai, to try to form the next government.
Pheu Thai plans to nominate its PM candidate Srettha Thavisin in the second round, tentatively scheduled for August 4.
Wanchai said he would adhere to his principle of voting for the party that commands support from most MPs.
“And if Pheu Thai nominates Srettha, I’ll vote for him.”
He added that Srettha would win significant backing from senators if the Pheu Thai-led coalition ditched Move Forward.
But if the coalition decides against this move, Move Forward should renounce its policy to amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majesty law, he said.
Pheu Thai has a higher chance of leading a coalition government because it could coordinate with various parties and with senators, Wanchai commented.
“I believe that in the August 4 vote, Pheu Thai will receive more than 13 votes from senators [and] it is clear that if the Move Forward is not included [in the coalition], senators will have no issue with Srettha,” he added.