Thousands Demonstrated After Lenta Failed to Become Thai Prime Minister


In Thailand, thousands of pro-democracy protesters gathered on Sunday (July 23) to show their support for Pita Limjaroenrat, where Pita’s latest attempt to become prime minister was thwarted last week.

“Tapes! Ribbons! Ribbons! shouted protesters in downtown Bangkok. One supporter said, “We will continue to fight … no matter how many months we have to uphold these democratic principles.”

Senate Support Ribbons

The opposition bloc actually controlled the Council of People’s Representatives (DPR) consisting of 500 people. However, a majority in the House of Representatives was not enough to defeat the 250-member Senate, where the majority of Senate members are appointed by the Thai military.

The Senate twice successfully blocked the leader of the Movement Forward Party (MFP) Pita to head the new government of Thailand.

An anti-establishment party led by Pita won elections last May and formed an eight-party coalition that also includes the populist Pheu Thai party.

However, due to members of the Senate opposing Pete’s candidacy for the premiership of Thailand, the country is currently in an unstable political stalemate.

Election winners effectively locked out

In last May’s elections, the MFP received strong support from young voters with proposals to reform the military, end business monopolies and amend Thailand’s insult to royalty law, which prevents citizens from criticizing the monarchy.

Pita and her eight-party coalition managed to win a majority of 312 seats in the 500-member DNR. However, members of the Senate, which is made up of conservatives, the old elite and monarchists who defend traditional royal values, feel threatened by the campaign of Pete’s party.

Under the military-imposed constitution, the new prime minister must secure the support of a combined majority of the lower and upper houses.

The Senate publicly declined to support the 42-year-old Harvard graduate on Wednesday (7/19). Even last week, Pita also didn’t get enough support after dozens of senators didn’t vote.

Pheu Thai party to nominate its next candidate for prime minister

The next vote will be scheduled for Thursday (27.07), but unfortunately Pete cannot be rescheduled. This time, coalition allies of the Pheu Thai Party will nominate a new candidate for the prime minister of Thailand.

The party’s three possible replacement candidates are Stretta Tavisin; Patongtarn Shinawatra, daughter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown in a military coup in 2006; and Chaikasem Nitsiri, party strategist.

Feu Tai also did not rule out the possibility of excluding the IFP from the coalition in order to succeed in forming a new government.

On Saturday (July 22) and Sunday (July 23), Pheu Thai held meetings with several parties that elected military junta leader Prayut Chan-Ocha as prime minister in 2019.

Pheu Tai was twice removed from power by the military. Once during the reign of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006 and eight years later when his sister Yingluck Shinawatra became prime minister.

Thaksin Shinawatra is currently in exile to avoid jail time for an abuse of power he says is politically motivated.

The MFP’s victory in last May’s elections was an expression of support for young people’s desire to make deep structural changes after nine years of Thai military rule.

Thailand’s military has carried out more than a dozen coups since the country officially became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

kp/ha (AP, Reuters)

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(ita / ita)

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