Srettha declares he won't touch S112

Srettha declares he won't touch S112

Lese majeste law safe if I'm prime minister, he says

Srettha Thavisin, one of three Pheu Thai candidates for prime minister, at a party seminar on June 21. (File photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Srettha Thavisin, one of three Pheu Thai candidates for prime minister, at a party seminar on June 21. (File photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Pheu Thai prime ministerial candidate Srettha Thavisin declared on Tuesday he would not seek to abolish or amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese majeste law, if the parliament approves his nomination as prime minister.

"If the Pheu Thai Party nominates me during the next round of parliamentary voting to select the prime minister, there will certainly be no amending of Section 112," he said.

"Pheu Thai has made it clear that the law will not be amended or abolished. If we want to see the country move forward and a new government successfully set up, the Section 112 issue must be set aside. 

"Today, the issues of the economy and the people's livelihoods are most important. What we have to do first is to make sure the people have enough to eat and that the economy improves," he said.

Mr Srettha said this after some senators expressed doubts about his position on Section 112. The senators alleged Mr Srettha had said Section 112 should be amended during an interview in the lead-up to the May 14 general election. They said they would not support Mr Srettha if he were nominated for prime minister unless he clearly and satisfactorily explained his stand on the issue.

Parliament President Wan Muhamad Noor Matha has tentatively set Aug 4 for parliament to again meet in  joint session to vote on the nomination of a prime minister.

Linthiporn Warinvacharoj, a Pheu Thai list MP and acting party spokeswoman, said Mr Srettha had addressed the matter in an interview on July 20, after the Move Forward Party's prime ministerial candidate Pita Limjaroenrat failed to get parliamentary approval, mainly because of his party's firm stand on amending Section 112.

The interview video had been posted on social media, she said.
 
"In the interview, Mr Srettha said clearly the issue must be handled properly during the next parliamentary  vote for prime minister. He admitted Section 112 is the main stumbling block. He said if Pheu Thai is given a chance to nominate a candidate for the position, the party must not touch Section 112 or it would not get support from the Senate and many other political parties," Ms Linthiporn said.

Sources said the Pheu Thai Party would issue a statement reiterating its standpoint of not amending or abolishing Section 112.

A source close of Mr Srettha said the property tycoon never had it in mind to amend or do away with Section 112. During the election campaign, when pressed for an answer Mr Srettha had opted for a neutral stance, saying the lese majeste law could be amended if the parliament or society saw it as necessary and this could be done through the normal parliamentary process, he said.

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