03 August 2023

Pheu Thai:
“The new government will not have Move Forward in its coalition…”

Thalu Wang

The eight-party coalition formed after Thailand’s election has collapsed, after Pheu Thai withdrew from the bloc yesterday. Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew announced at a press conference that his party had been unable to secure support from governing parties or senators, who refused to endorse a coalition that included the Move Forward Party. Pheu Thai is preparing to unveil a new coalition, relegating Move Forward to the opposition.

Move Forward won the most seats in the 14th May election, though their prime ministerial candidate, Pita Limjaroenrat, lost a parliamentary vote on 13th July after criticism of his party’s pledge to amend the lèse-majesté law (article 112 of the criminal code). MPs and senators voted on 19th July to prevent a second round from taking place, and the legality of that decision is now under consideration by the Constitutional Court. When parliament votes again to select a new prime minister, Pheu Thai plans to nominate its candidate, Srettha Thavisin.

At yesterday’s press conference, Cholnan distanced his party from Move Forward and its lèse-majesté policy: “Pheu Thai and Mr Srettha will keep Section 112 intact and the new government will not have Move Forward in its coalition”. Pheu Thai’s withdrawal comes after Cholnan categorically denied persistent rumours that his party would abandon its alliance with Move Forward, a betrayal of principles that may cost Pheu Thai much of its grassroots support. (After the announcement, the Thalu Wang group staged a protest outside Pheu Thai’s headquarters in Bangkok, spraying the building with pig’s blood.)

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