Future Forward sets 3 conditions

Future Forward sets 3 conditions

Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul at the briefing on Monday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul at the briefing on Monday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Future Forward Party has laid down three conditions for it to join a coalition, but proposing its leader as prime minister or bargaining for some ministerial seats is not one of them, according to its leader.

FFP, with at least 80 seats from 5.8 million votes, looks set to the third largest party based on preliminary results of the March 24 election as of Monday.

Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit admitted the party was approached by the Pheu Thai Party to join a coalition but said they only agreed on the principle of ending power succession by the junta. 

FFP’s three conditions are based on its campaign pledges -- to rewrite the constitution, eliminate the legacy of military coups and push for military reform so coups won’t happen again.

FFP secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul told a briefing on Monday afternoon the party’s first condition for joining a coalition is to amend the 2017 constitution and add a clause that opens the door for the setup of an elected council to draft a new constitution. Like the 1997 charter, the new draft will then be put to a referendum before coming into effect.  

Second, the party seeks to amend Section 279 of the 2017 charter, which legitimises all orders and announcements of the NCPO chief and officials and gives them immunity so it can get rid of the legacy of the coup, he said.

Third, the party wants to push military reform in line with democracy to prevent future coups, he added.

On other issues, Mr Thanathorn insisted the largest party must be allowed to form a coalition first in line with a long-held political tradition. "We won't propose our PM candidate [Mr Thanathorn himself] as a PM candidate for a coalition unless we are the largest party," he declared.

FFP also again pushed for its “turning off senators’ switch” agenda. It involves urging all MPs who do not support Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister to band together temporarily to vote for the PM candidate of the largest party so senators’ votes no longer matter. 

“Currently, the seats of the parties which vow to support Gen Prayut total 122, short of the 126 required for Gen Prayut in the house in addition to the 250 senators’ votes,” he said.

He was referring to three parties -- Palang Pracharath Party (with 116 seats), Action Coalition of Thailand (5) and People Power Party (1).

Parties that support Gen Prayut need at least 126 MP votes in addition to the senators’ vote to get their way. 

On the question which is more legitimate -- popular votes or constituency votes -- Mr Piyabutr explained for a parliamentary system like Thailand’s, MP seats are what counts, unlike in countries where people vote directly to choose their leaders.

PPRP led with the most votes (7.9 million of 32.7 million valid ballots) while Pheu Thai had the most seats (137 of 500) as of Monday.  

Like others, Mr Piyabutr has doubts about the Election Commission’s performance. He said he would go to the EC’s office on Tuesday to formally ask it to disclose the vote results by polling unit, not by constituency, for transparency.

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