Shuns former government parties; highlights plight of jailed protesters
Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat announced on Monday the formation of a planned coalition government comprising five former opposition parties and one new party, with a total of 309 MPs and himself as prime minister.
Mr Pita made the announcement after the Election Commission declared the Move Forward Party the victor in Sunday’s general election with 151 MPs – 112 from constituencies and 39 from the party list.
He said he took the victory as a mandate from the people for his party to be the core in the formation of the next government.
Mr Pita said he had called Paetongtarn Shinawatra, leader of the Pheu Thai Family, and congratulated her for her determination during the campaign and had invited her party to join a coalition. Ms Paetongtarn, in return, congratulated Move Forward and said the media should be informed that the two parties had talked, in the interests of transparency, he added.
The three other former opposition parties he had contacted were Thai Sang Thai, Prachachart and Seri Ruam Thai. The five parties had 308 MPs combined.
Mr Pita said he was contacting Pen Tham, or the Fair Party, which had one party-list MP, to join the coalition. He said it was a party which had worked arduously for peace in the three southernmost border provinces.
The six parties would have 309 MPs in total, enough to be a majority government, he said.
The five former opposition parties would discuss details regarding policies and work plans. It would also be necessary for them to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) so that the people would see what would happen to Thailand in the next 100 days and the year ahead.
A team of negotiators would be set up for the formation of the government. Promises made to the people during the campaign would be discussed for further implementation. A public referendum would also be held for the amendment of the constitution.
After the talks, Move Forward would seek to meet with people in the government and business sectors and promote understanding with those holding different opinions from it.
“We would form the government as soon as possible, so that there would not be a political and economic vacuum. Please be assured that Move Forward will be fast and meticulous,” Mr Pita said.
Asked whether Move Forward worried that senators would not vote in support of the coalition to meet the required 376 votes of endorsement for prime minister, Mr Pita said he was not concerned about it. The party had a mandate from the people.
Mr Pita said he did not see any reason for the senators to go against the people’s mandate, which should be accepted by all concerned.
Asked whether Move Forward or Pheu Thai would take the defence portfolio, Mr Pita said he was ready to be prime minister and concurrently take another cabinet post. But he would not mind if there was another person suitable for the post.
Concerning Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law, Mr Pita said this had not been raised for discussion with other parties. However, Section 112 could be amended in parliament. Move Forward had 151 MPs, enough that it could itself propose amending legislation.
Mr Pita said what was more urgent than amending the law was the plight of people indicted in political cases and their chance of being pardoned.
Asked whether he was concerned about a petition filed against him with the Election Commission over his shares in a defunct media firm, Mr Pita said he was ready to clear this matter with the Election Commission. People should not worry about it, he added.