Senators have expressed mixed opinions on whether to support Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the Move Forward Party, which won the most House seats in Sunday’s election, to become the next prime minister.
Senator Peeraksak Porjit said that it is up to parties to gather enough support to nominate a prime ministerial candidate for a vote in parliament.
“Senators will also consider who they will nominate and whether the candidate is suitable,” Mr Peerasak said, adding that senators should not abstain from voting.
Asked to comment on Mr Pita’s suitability, Mr Peerasak said that first, the parties with the most seats must drum up support for their choices before senators examine the qualifications of each candidate and the policy platforms that saw them voted into parliament.
“In principle, senators should respect the decision of the majority of MPs,” he said.
Senator Jetn Sirathranont echoed the sentiment.
“The poll result shows that people would want [senators] to vote for candidates either from the MFP or Pheu Thai.
“The political party that wins the most seats has the right to gather support and form a government first. If it fails, the party that wins the second-largest number of seats will be given a chance,” he said.
Senator Wallop Tangkananurak also said he shares that belief and is ready to support a candidate nominated by a party that can gather the support of more than 250 MPs.
However, he said he was baffled by an about-face by the MFP, which had earlier tried to “switch off” or remove the Senate’s power to join MPs in selecting a prime minister in parliament.
“But they [the MFP] are now calling on senators not to abstain from voting and instead support its prime ministerial candidate?” Mr Wallop said.
However, Jadet Insawang insisted that he would not vote for Mr Pita if he was nominated.
“Mr Pita has been attempting to scrap Section 112 [the lese majeste law], and that is unacceptable,” the senator said.
Meanwhile, Senator Seree Suwanpanont said he wanted the MFP to clarify its aim as to whether it would scrap the law entirely, as “There are several parties that disagree with the move to revise Section 112”.