MFP stands firm on S112 amendment
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MFP stands firm on S112 amendment

Fresh vote for PM to be held Wednesday

People hold up posters outside the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre protesting against the outcome of Thursday's prime ministerial vote. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
People hold up posters outside the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre protesting against the outcome of Thursday's prime ministerial vote. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The Move Forward Party (MFP) has insisted that it will not back down from its plan to amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the lese majeste law, saying the party does not want to fall into a trap laid by the senators.

MFP secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon said on Friday that he had met key Pheu Thai figures for talks on how to push for MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat to become the new prime minister.

They agreed that they would still nominate Mr Pita in a second round of voting in parliament scheduled for Wednesday, he said, adding that efforts will be made to gather more support for Mr Pita from senators.

Mr Pita failed to gather enough support for his nomination for prime minister in parliament on Thursday.

Section 112 was cited as the main reason why several senators refused to back his nomination.

However, Mr Pita insisted that the party would press ahead with its plan to amend the law, and said that he would try to gather the required support before the next round of voting.

Mr Chaithawat on Friday also reiterated the party's stance on an amended bid, saying it was one of the pledges it made before the May 14 election.

"Moreover, I don't think the senators will vote for Mr Pita even if we announce that we will back down.

"The senators have fixed opinions about us. Even if they do not criticise us over the issue [Section 112], they will still find other excuses to attack us.

"There are reports that old power groups are trying to pressure and control the senators in the hope of forming an alternative coalition government.

"Old power groups and major business establishments do not want Move Forward to become the new government,'' Mr Chaithawat said.

Senator Kittisak Rattanawaraha said on Friday that if Mr Pita is nominated for a second round of voting next Wednesday, the outcome will be no different from Thursday's vote.

Moreover, last Wednesday the Election Commission asked the Constitutional Court to rule on Mr Pita's eligibility in light of the iTV shareholding scandal.

The constitution prohibits a stakeholder in a media organisation from running in a general election.

The same court also accepted for deliberation a petition filed by lawyer Theerayut Suwankesorn who claimed the MFP's policy to amend Section 112 breaches Section 49 of the constitution, which prohibits people from using their rights and freedoms to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

"If Mr Pita is nominated again on July 19, he will not receive the votes of senators, maybe not even from the 13 who voted for him on Thursday, either,'' Mr Kittisak said.

''The runner-up party should be given a chance to nominate its prime ministerial candidate for the vote instead," Mr Kittisak said, referring to the Pheu Thai Party.

He went on to say that even if the MFP promised to back down from its bid to amend Section 112, he would still not trust it considering that the party has been adamant about amendment over the past few years.

Prapan Koonme, another senator, said he believed that Mr Pita could not be nominated for a PM vote on Wednesday after he failed to gather enough support in Thursday's vote.

Mr Prapan cited the parliamentary regulation No.41, which stipulates that "any motion that is dropped cannot be resubmitted to parliament during the same parliamentary session, except for a motion that parliament has yet to vote on or a motion which is allowed by the parliament president who decides that the circumstances have changed.''

In light of this, the regulation also applies to the motion regarding Mr Pita's nomination for a vote on Thursday, Mr Prapan said.

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