Lese majeste stance could sink Dems' PM vote
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Lese majeste stance could sink Dems' PM vote

Pita Limjaroenrat (Photo: Bangkok Post)
Pita Limjaroenrat (Photo: Bangkok Post)

The Democrat Party are mulling over whether its members should elect Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister and whether any support should be conditional based on how the lese majeste law is to be handled.

Chanin Rungsaeng, a former Democrat executive, said party members would have no problem electing Mr Pita as prime minister so long as the MFP promises not to abolish the lese majeste law.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, he did not object to any Democrats supporting the leader of the party that won the most votes to be prime minister.

However, the MFP must give its word not to repeal Section 112 of the Criminal Code -- the lese majeste law. He added there must be no amendment to Section 112 that would permit anyone to insult the monarchy. The MFP captured 151 MP seats and was the biggest winner in Sunday's election.

Mr Pita is mobilising support from fellow opposition parties, including Pheu Thai, to form a new government with him as prime minister. However, support from the bloc alone will not be enough for him to be made prime minister unless the MFP reaches out to some senators and parties in the current government and obtains their backing.

Some members of the Democrats, a coalition partner in the government camp, have suggested their party vote in favour of Mr Pita to be premier. Mr Chanin suggested there is an advantage to the Democrats and other parties rallying behind Mr Pita's bid for the premiership. It might thwart what he sees as the Senate's illegitimate exercise of power to co-elect Mr Pita as prime minister.

Mallika Boonmeetrakul Mahasuk, another former Democrats executive, said she felt the 25 Democrat MPs should be free to decide how they will vote in the Pita bid.

Alongkorn Ponlaboot, acting Democrat deputy leader, said he'd ask the party at its meeting next week to unconditionally support Mr Pita for the premiership. The Democrats should do their part to break any impasse that might occur in selecting the new PM, he said. Mr Pita needs at least 376 votes from MPs alone or from the MPs and senators combined to win the prime ministerial nomination.

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