Move Forward accepts court ruling but fears wider impact

Move Forward accepts court ruling but fears wider impact

Leader denies any attempt to undermine monarchy, says democratic system could suffer

Move Forward accepts court ruling but fears wider impact
Pita Limjaroenrat (left), the Move Forward advisory chairman, looks on as party leader Chaithawat Tulathon addresses reporters following the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the party’s attempts to change the lese-majeste law, at parliament on Wednesday. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

The opposition Move Forward Party said on Wednesday that it had no intention to erode the royal institution as the Constitutional Court found, adding that the court’s ruling could ultimately affect the monarchy.

Move Forward leader Chaithawat Tulathon made the statement in response to the court’s ruling that the party’s continuous efforts to change Section 112, the lese-majeste law, showed an intention to destroy the constitutional monarchy.

While the party accepted the ruling, Mr Chaithawat said it would “lead to a “loss of political space” to discuss important issues in the future.

He also acknowledged the possibility of petitions being lodged against the party to seek its dissolution in light of the court ruling, saying the party had prepared for all eventualities.

“We are not concerned, but we are not careless either,” he told reporters.

The party had no intention at all to undermine the royal institution or separate it from the nation, he said of the court’s contention.

“Also, we are concerned that the ruling of the Constitutional Court today can have long-term impacts on Thai politics,” he added.

It could affect the power balance between the legislature and the Constitutional Court in the future, and the very understanding and definition of constitutional monarchy, Mr Chaithawat said.

Based on the court’s ruling, he said, past actions of many other parties and individuals during the previous period of absolute monarchy and the democratic era could be considered as attempts to overthrow governmental rule.

“Today’s ruling could cause problems in the balance between democracy and the royal institution in the Thai political system in the future,” he said.

“Eventually today’s ruling could make the royal institution increasingly become a factor behind conflicts in Thai politics, and the royal institution could then be affected.”

As well, he said, Thai society could lose its opportunity to use the democratic parliamentary system to resolve conflicts.

The ruling could also have impacts on democracy in the country and the rights and liberties of all people, he added.

Pita Limjaroenrat, the party’s former leader and now head of its advisory board, also said the ruling could affect democratic progress in the country.

“This is a lost opportunity for us to use the parliament to find a consensus for such an important and sensitive issue,” he told reporters.

Within minutes of the ruling being announced on Wednesday afternoon, Move Forward posted an appeal for support and donations on its X account.

“Stand up and act as a political party of the people, by the people, for the people, serving the people who are the most powerful people of the country,” it said. “Create a society where Thai people are equal. Lead Thailand to keep up with the world.

“This is our simple political ambition. It is not intended to overthrow the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State.”