Move Forward supporters nix plan for Korn to join

Move Forward supporters nix plan for Korn to join

The Move Forward Party (MFP) yesterday ditched the New and Chartpattanakla parties from its proposed coalition line-up, following a backlash from its supporters.

MFP secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon announced yesterday the party will focus on lobbying for Senate support for its leader to be premier.

MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat posted a tweet on Friday night, about the approaches: “I would like to apologise. I will keep reminding myself that a party is bigger than an individual. The people are bigger than a party.”

Bowing to mounting pressure from its supporters, the MFP posted a message on its Facebook page on Friday night, acknowledging that it had heard the voices of the people, many of whom opposed the inclusion of Chartpattanakla in its alliance.

The move came after the MFP held talks with Chartpattanakla on Friday regarding their support for Mr Pita’s bid to become prime minister and the formation of a coalition government, with MFP deputy leader Phicharn Chaowapatanawong confirming the alliance that evening.

The negotiations drew widespread criticism from the public, party staff, provincial-level panels and party members. Most shared the view that they could not accept the inclusion of the Chartpattanakla Party led by Korn Chatikavanij.

As the hash tag “Mee Korn Mai Mee Ku”, meaning “if you have Korn, you can’t have me”, trended on Thai language Twitter that evening, a meeting of prospective Move Forward MPs also expressed the same stance.

Opposition to Chartpattanakla stemmed from its leader Mr Korn, who participated in the seven-month-long Bangkok Shutdown and anti-Yingluck Shinawatra protests that led to the military coup that toppled her administration in May 22, 2014. Mr Korn, a former deputy leader of the Democrat Party, also voted in favour of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the coup leader at the time, as prime minister.

The MFP, after winning the most House seats in the election, said the party would focus on convincing enough senators to back Mr Pita as PM, allowing it to form a government as soon as possible.

On Friday, the one-member New Party accepted the invitation to join the alliance, setting it on course to becoming the ninth party to do so. However, the party was also dropped from the proposed coalition line-up, following the online backlash, according to party leader Kritditas Saengthanayothin.

Chartpattanakla chairman Suwat Liptapanlop yesterday insisted the party had been approached to join the proposed MFP-led coalition bloc and not the other way around. The MFP said it was running short of MP support to form a government.

“We didn’t ask to be part of the coalition bloc,” Mr Suwat said.

The party merely wanted to see a post-election politics with a semblance of stability and for the country to be ruled by a government with majority support in parliament, he added.