Future Forward Party leader urges Senate ‘switch off’ in Thailand

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward Party

BANGKOK, May 10, 2019, Bangkok Post. Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit on Thursday repeated his call for parties to join the FFP’s campaign to “switch off”, or nullify, the regime-appointed Senate that will join MPs in voting for the new prime minister, reported the Bangkok Post.

Mr Thanathorn said he was ready to hold talks with all parties that had pledged to boycott the senators and stop the regime’s prolonged rule, whether they intend to join a coalition government or serve in the opposition.

Earlier, the FFP proposed that if all parties refused to endorse the nomination of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is the sole prime ministerial candidate put forth by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), they would thwart the regime’s plan to stay in power.

The party described this as “switching off” the senators who would join the MPs in choosing the prime minister and were speculated to vote for Gen Prayut.

The PPRP, which itself won 115 House seats and is believed to have the support of 250 senators in backing Gen Prayut, could not have its way if the rest of the House of Representatives refused to vote for Gen Prayut.

Mr Thanathorn insisted the Pheu Thai-led alliance announced shortly after the March 24 general election was not intended to form a coalition government but to make a political statement against the regime’s prolonged stay in power.

“It’s clear that the parties that support Gen Prayut don’t have 126 seats, so we have a chance to switch off the Senate.

“We can muster 378 votes, which is more than the combined votes of the senators and the [pro-Prayut] parties. We can move politics forward. I’m calling on every party to nullify the Senate and make the selection of the prime minister an affair of the House of Representatives,” he said.

FFP secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul said the people did not want the regime to prolong its stay in power, citing the number of votes which his seven-party alliance and other parties received from the March 24 general election.

“It’s the duty of parties that won the elections to follow the mandate. It’s about stopping the regime from staying in power. It’s not about forming a coalition, which will come later,” he said.

Gen Prayut, in his capacity as chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said on Thursday the list of 250 senators would be forwarded for royal endorsement today, as scheduled.

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