No urgency on lese majeste change: source
Eight prospective coalition parties will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday. The controversial topic of revising Section 112 of the Criminal Code, a key pledge of the Move Forward Party (MFP), is expected not to be included in the MoU.
The parties which are part of the MFP coalition will meet at the Conrad Bangkok Hotel on Monday to sign the MoU, a source said.
The eight parties are the MFP, Pheu Thai, Prachachart, Thai Sang Thai, Seri Ruam Thai, Fair, Palang Sangkhom Mai and Pheu Thai Ruam Phalang parties.
According to an MFP source, issues relating to Section 112, also known as the lese majeste law, will not be included in the MoU because the party’s coalition partners are still divided on the matter.
Therefore, the MFP wants the matter to be dealt with in parliament at a later stage, the source said.
Amending Section 112 will also be excluded from the MFP’s action plan for its first 100 days in office if the party becomes the government, the source said, adding the party does not see the law as a time-sensitive matter, as it requires careful consideration.
The MFP-led bloc has a combined 313 MPs under its wing.
All prospective coalition partners have agreed to support MFP leader Pita Limcharoenrat as the next prime minister, after the MFP clinched the most seats in the May 14 election.
The MoU will map out guidelines for collaboration among coalition partners and address national, political, economic and social crises. Details of the MoU are expected to be outlined on Monday.
MFP secretary-general Chaithawat Tulanon said on Sunday the MFP had met representatives of each coalition party separately to thrash out the terms of the MoU.
The MoU would contain not only the MFP’s agenda but also that of other parties, including peace-making in the southern border provinces, the MFP secretary-general said.
Several coalition partners have sounded concerns about MFP’s progressive agenda, including the Prachachart Party, which will have a hard time justifying the partnership to its supporters, who are mostly Muslims, Mr Chaithawat said.
On May 17, Wan Muhamad Nor Matha, leader of the Prachachart Party, asked about the MFP’s idea to remove barriers to competition in the alcoholic beverage market, Mr Chaithawat said.
The party told the Prachachart leader the move won’t encourage people to drink alcohol but is simply aimed at ending the monopoly in the market, he said.
In addition, the MFP wanted to legalise same-sex marriage to improve equality, a move that has rattled some of its conservative partners.
He also said the MFP-led bloc is still planning to form the next government with the support of 313 MPs under its wing.
“The number of votes should be enough. Talks with senators are underway,” Mr Chaithawat said.
Under the current constitution, senators have the power to join MPs to pick the next prime minister.
Many senators have sought the details of the MoU before the press conference on Monday, Mr Chaithawat said.
Asked about the MoU which will be signed by prospective coalition partners, Mr Pita said everything has proceeded nicely so far.
“All is well. There should be no problem,” he said.
Prasert Chantararuangthong, Pheu Thai secretary-general, said the MFP should rethink its plan to include the proposal to amend Section 112 in the MoU.