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Junta’s Senators Ignored Thai People’s Demands for True Democracy!



#RespectMyVote - Junta’s Senators Ignored Thai People’s Demands for True Democracy!


Yesterday, July 13, Pita Limjaroenrat, Move Forward Party’s leader, did not secure enough votes from the junta-handpicked senators to become prime minister. In a setback for democracy, many of the current senators disregarded the voice of the people, with only 13 out of 250 senators aligning their votes accordingly. The Senators’ votes represent a true disrespect for the voices of the Thai people!


Thailand's election in May was won by the Moving Forward Party (MFP), the pro-democracy political party, sparking hopes for human rights, social justice, and equality. More than 14 million Thai people, many of whom were first time Youth voters, have demanded radical change and true democracy for their country. However, from the very first days, it has been clear that, notwithstanding the victory, the road to democratic consolidation would be rocky, and the result of the PM votes yesterday confirmed it.


Thailand's Senate and House of Representatives held a joint session to elect a prime minister, deciding on whether Pita Limjaroenrat would take power after almost a decade of military rule. The senators, making up almost the majority in the Parliament, used their power to influence the outcome of the voting session. In short, they disregarded Thai people's votes and they abused their power to stall the transition to democracy.


Protecting the Establishment over the Demands of People:

Dinosaurs’ reign VS. #Amend112

Yesterday's results serve as a clear indication that junta senators are determined to maintain the status quo seeking to perpetuate the reign of outdated ideologies instead of embracing progress through #Amend112. Members of the Senate, as well as some opposition MPs, harmoniously argued that Pita is unfit to hold the office because of his party’s push to amend the royal defamation law, and that by voting against him or refusing to give their approval, they are protecting the country and its most revered institution, the monarchy. One of the most concerning stances against the proposal to revise the lèse-majesté law came from Chada Thaiset, a Bhumjaithai MP, who asked “How about I propose a law allowing people to shoot those insulting the monarchy?


The Constitutional Court: last hope for Dinosaurs of the Election Commission on a mission to mentally and judicially harass Pita and desperately wanting to dissolve the MFP

Only one day before the voting for the new PM was scheduled to take place, the Constitutional Court accepted two separate petitions from the Election Commission (EC) to rule on Pita’s conduct and potentially ban him from politics. In the first case, the EC asked the Court to terminate Pita’s status as an MP because he owned shares in a defunct media company, iTV, and was therefore unqualified to run for elections. In the second case, Pita is accused of “attempting to overthrow the democratic system with His Majesty the King as the Head of State” for proposing to amend the lese-majeste law. These instances of judicial harassment are proof of the establishment’s efforts to prevent a pro-democracy leader from taking office and to end Pita’s career as a politician, which is the same tactic used to undermine Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, former leaders of the Future Forward Party, MFP’s successor.


Voting results influenced by judicial harassment vs Pita

The voting concluded with 324 votes in favor of Pita, 199 abstentions, and 182 votes against him. In order to become Thailand’s next leader and fulfill the hopes of pro-democracy supporters, he needed at least 376 votes. The votes against him echo a blow to democracy, the rule of law, and the desire of millions of people yearning for change after enduring nine years under a military-backed regime.


What’s Next?

The spirits of democratic reforms, however, have not been dampened. “I accept the result of the vote, but I am not giving up,” said Pita Limjaroenrat after the parliament meeting yesterday. “We will find out what happened and work on a strategy to get enough support.” The pro-democracy movement is also set to gather in Bangkok and many provinces across the country today (July 14) to send a message to those in power that democracy cannot be delayed any longer.


The second round of voting will be held on July 19. This time, the junta Senators must RESPECT Thai People’s Votes!


#WeAreManushyan ∞ Equal Human Beings


📷Thank you @mickey1845 (Instagram) for capturing yesterday’s protest!


✊ Manushya stands in solidarity with the people of Thailand who expressed their desire for a new, democratic government. We call on the senators and elected representatives to respect the will of the people. We will not stop asking the old regime of dinosaurs installed by the military junta to do the right thing and restore democracy to Thailand. It is the only way Thailand can move forward!

While you’re here…

Read more about Thailand’s general election and our work to support democracy, powering Youth Voices for democracy, combating dictatorship, fighting for corporate accountability and climate justice, and powering women leaders, creating a safer, inclusive space online and offline for everyone:


References

  1. Bangkok Post, Pita loses first PM vote, (July 13, 2023), available at: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/politics/2611078/pita-loses-first-pm-vote

  2. Thai Enquirer, Explainer: Why Pita Didn’t Become Prime Minister, (July 13, 2023), available at: https://www.thaienquirer.com/50187/explainer-why-pita-didnt-become-prime-minister/

  3. Bangkok Post, S112 dominates PM debate, (July 13, 2023), available at: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2611062/

  4. ThaiPBS, BREAKING – EC sends Pita shareholding case to Charter Court, (July 12, 2023), available at: https://www.thaipbsworld.com/breaking-ec-sends-pita-shareholding-case-to-charter-court/

  5. Reuters, Thai court accepts case against Pita over royal insults law, (July 12, 2023), available at: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/thai-court-accepts-case-against-pita-over-royal-insults-law-2023-07-12/


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