Thammasat student council condemns PM vote

Thammasat student council condemns PM vote

Hundreds of Move Forward Party supporters gather at a pre-designated spot near parliament to show support for MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat during Thursday's prime ministerial vote. (Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Hundreds of Move Forward Party supporters gather at a pre-designated spot near parliament to show support for MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat during Thursday's prime ministerial vote. (Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Thammasat University Student Council issued a statement condemning Thursday’s vote for a new prime minister, saying that members of parliament and senators who voted against the will of the people or abstained from voting were disgraceful.

The council’s Standing Committee on Politics and Democracy Promotion made the condemnation following the vote in a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat failed in his bid to become the country’s 30th prime minister after he was unable to secure the required endorsement of half of the parliamentarians. The MFP had won the May 14 general election with 151 House seats.

The final tally was 324 in favour, 182 against and 199 abstentions among the 705 members attending the meeting. Mr Pita, who was the sole nominee for the post, needed 375 votes from the combined 749 House and Senate seats. A senator had resigned on Wednesday, a day before the vote took place.

The MFP leader received 311 votes in favour from MPs and 148 against, with 39 abstentions. He received just 13 votes in favour from senators, 34 against and 159 abstentions.

The university council’s committee said the MPs and senators who voted against and abstaned had acted against the people’s will, as expressed through the May 14 general election. The MFP had won the election with 151 House seats, and its leader received the people’s mandate to be the next prime minister.

"Your action is disgusting and disgraceful to the constitutional monarchy system and the country’s political history. You ignore your roles as being representatives of Thai people who are duty-bound to perform tasks for the benefits of the nation and people’s well-being," said the standing committee, which criticised MPs and senators who voted against Mr Pita and those who abstained their votes.

The committee called on MPs and appointed senators to respect people’s votes.

"Children in the nation development era will lead the country for prosperity but senators will lead the county to disaster," read the statement.

Many MFP supporters expressed disappointment with Thursday's vote but said the results were not unexpected. They urged appointed senators to respect their votes.

Supporters sit at the government complex in the Kiakkai area as they eagerly wait for the result of the prime ministerial voting on Thursday. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpatarasill)

Prior to the joint sitting, hundreds of MFP supporters gathered at a designated spot near the parliament to show their support for the MFP leader.

The gathering area can accommodate up to about 300 people at a time, said Rujira Arin, chief of the Dusit District office.

The 710-square-metre area, set one lane of a road and some walkways of the Kiak Kai government centre, was designated by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) for MFP supporters, said deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek.

The Kiak Kai government centre is situated across the parliament complex.

Amarat Chokepamitkul, member of the MFP's board, was seen at the gathering to observe Thursday's vote.

The BMA also worked with the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) to ensure law and order, Ms Rachada said.

In addition, the MBP had issued an order prohibiting public gatherings within a 50-metre radius of the parliament complex, effective from 6am on Wednesday to midnight Friday, said Ms Rachada.

The order was signed by the MPB chief, under the 2015 Public Gatherings Act, she said.

She said traffic in the area was being rerouted to accommodate the gathering of MFP supporters, while several police officers were deployed in the area.

Move Forward Party MPs show up at a gathering venue outside parliament to thank people for their support to party leader Pita Limjaroenrat on Thursday's voting for a prime minister. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Caretaker Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was aware of people's right to express their political views and observe the parliamentary process, she said.

Gen Prayut also called on MFP supporters to obey the law and refrain from violence and conflict and emphasised the need for security officials to follow crowd control rules based on international standards, she said.

Just before the start of the parliamentary vote at around 3pm, a male teenager caused a commotion at the designated rally area. The teenager, seemingly an MFP supporter, smashed a poster in the gathering area, leading to an assault by another individual. The teenager was eventually rescued by Ngoentra Khamsaen, 44, who stated that it was a misunderstanding.

Do you like the content of this article?