What Is the Next for Prime Minister Candidate Vote?

Srettha Thavisin gave an interview to a group of journalists before attending a meeting at the Pheu Thai Party on July 20.

Pita Limjaroenrat, as expected, missed the chance to become prime minister, although he led his party to victory in the elections as the top candidate. He was unable to survive the encirclement by the established old power group with elements within the senators and lawfare.

What will the Thai political landscape be like in the future?

Immediately after the fall of Pita, supporters of democracy and supporters of the Move Forward Party gathered in various places, including at the monuments of democracy and in some provinces. However, the crowds were not very large and they did not succeed in creating a broad public mood.


One possible reason for this could be that another section of the masses who support the Pheu Thai Party believe that the chance for a united democratic alliance still exists and that this chance has now come with Srettha Thavisin, the party’s candidate for prime minister. That is why they have not yet joined the opposition movement.

Another reason might be, as Nidhi Eawsriwong, a senior Thai academic, has analyzed, that the military junta and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha have succeeded in making the Thai people vulnerable in a way that no previous military junta has ever managed. Instead of using violent methods like previous military leaders, they have mobilized all state apparatuses through legal means, leaving no room for the opposition to confront them directly.

Pro-democracy protesters gathered at the Democracy Monument Wednesday afternoon protest the parliament’s refusal to allow Pita Limcharoenrat, the leader of the Move Forward Party, from being tabled for PM vote for the second time.

The formation of the government – which may include other parties that were not part of the previous 8-party alliance – now depends on the Pheu Thai Party, which has been accused of “fighting and fawning.” This means that it is pursuing a strategy of fighting for democracy while accommodating the old power group to some extent, including not amending Section 112 of the Criminal Code.

At present, it appears that the Pheu Thai Party is likely to propose Srettha Thavisin, a former CEO in the real estate industry, as its candidate. However, it seems to be better prepared and more cautious than the Move Forward party. This is because Pita seems to have been “set up” and had no chance even if nominated again. He is also facing legal action over allegations of media ownership, which could ultimately lead to the dissolution of the Move Forward party.

Srettha Thavisin, PM candidate of the Pheu Thai Party

On July 20, Chonlanan Srikaew, the leader of the Pheu Thai Party, stated that from now on, efforts to put forward a candidate for prime minister must be approached with the certainty that the nomination will be successful. He stressed the need to build trust before embarking on another battle, as no one wants to fight on a losing battlefield.

“No one will go into a battle on a lost ground and fight again. Otherwise, we will also lose our people, especially if we have only one candidate and cannot propose others. That will be the end. That’s the problem,” Chonlanan said.

Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of Move Forward Party, left, and Leader of Pheu Thai party Chonlanan Srikaew shakes hands after meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, July 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Despite Chonlanan’s statement that the formation of the government is still based on the alliance of the eight former parties, there is now growing opposition from the opposite camp. For example, the Bhum Jai Thai Party, which has the third-largest number of seats in parliament, said it would not support a Pheu Thai Party candidate if the Move Forward Party remained in government. Some right-leaning senators with a common alignment also hope to push the Move Forward Party into opposition.

Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, Chairman of the Parliament, announced that the next vote on the Prime Minister will be held on July 27, following the regular agenda. Candidates from political parties will be proposed and then qualifications will be discussed. 374 votes are needed to become prime minister.

However, it is uncertain whether the July 27 vote will produce a result; even the speaker of parliament said he was not sure. Nevertheless, the public hopes for a quick result and that a prime minister will soon be in office.

Srettha said on Thursday during the next PM vote on July 27, there must be a “no lese majeste law” issue; otherwise, the junta-appointed senators won’t support the candidate. “It’s very basic math,” he added.


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