More senators back Pita's bid to be prime minister
published : 19 May 2023 at 05:05
newspaper section: News
writer: Post Reporters
A growing number of senators are rallying behind Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat's bid for prime minister, citing the people's mandate shown in Sunday's election and the MFP's increased chance of forming a government.
Senator Sathit Limpongpan has pledged support for a government coalition which manages to secure more than 250 House seats, or half of all the seats at stake. He joins at least 14 other senators reportedly gearing to back Mr Pita's bid to become prime minister.
An MFP-led alliance has so far gathered 313 seats from eight parties as it works to build a government bloc. The next step is to win at least 376 votes in the 750-seat parliament, which comprises 500 MPs and 250 senators.
To make up for the shortfall, the alliance will need to tap into parties outside the bloc and senators.
Concerns were mounting as the MFP had been fiercely critical of inter-bloc parties, calling them "pro-dictatorship", as well as the coup-appointed Senate. But some members from the Democrat Party, which is not part of the MFP-led coalition, have said they were lobbying to back Mr Pita for the premiership in the spirit of "preserving democracy".
Mr Sathit said he has listened to the MFP's policies and found them to be clear enough to support.
Senator Prapasri Suchanthabut has also indicated she would throw her support behind Mr Pita's bid for the premiership.
Wanchai Sornsiri, an outspoken senator, denied opposing Mr Pita's bid, saying he was misunderstood.
Wanchai: Denies he's against bid
He vowed to elect anyone able to muster more than half of the votes in the House of Representatives as premier.
However, Mr Wanchai insisted he could not speak for other senators who might have doubts over Mr Pita or the MFP, although he thought any unsettling issues could be talked through before the premiership election in the next two to three months.
A major sour point several senators have with the MFP is the party's stance to amend or repeal the hyper-sensitive Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law.
Senator Direkrit Jenklongtham said he would respect the people's mandate and congratulated Mr Pita for the MFP's election success after grabbing 151 out of 500 House seats on Sunday.
He said if possible, Mr Pita should clarify the MFP's stance on Section 112 and spell out whether the party intends to change or cancel the law altogether.
If it plans to amend it, the party must explain how it will go about it, he said. The Senate might also invite Mr Pita to give an explanation, he added.
Direkrit: Has lese majeste concerns