Former Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and other prominent FFP figures facing lese majeste charges will opt to waive rights that would be granted to them under an amnesty bill advocated by the Move Forward Party (MFP), confirmed MFP leader Chaithawat Tulathon on Tuesday.
The MFP, essentially the successor to the dissolved Future Forward Party, is actively championing the bill as a starting point for fostering political reconciliation among diverse ideological groups that were embroiled in past political conflicts.
Amid mounting discontent, particularly among the young, with Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, the MFP's proposal aims to encompass Section 112 cases within the scope of the amnesty bill, said Mr Chaithawat.
The bill is in the process of public hearings and is expected to be included in the House of Representatives' legislative agenda in the coming House session.
The MFP is now seeking talks with political allies whose opinions differ over the content of the amnesty bill from those of the MFP, while encouraging the government to submit another draft of the bill for deliberation alongside the MFP's own, said the MFP leader.
"If we simply exclude 'imprisoned thinkers' [critics prosecuted in or facing a lese majeste case], the existing problems will never be resolved," he said. "Some have already served their sentence, but their criminal history is still there."
He said the issue had now become "the elephant in the room" as so many MPs were unwilling to discuss it.
Mr Chaithawat also insisted that all sides, not only those who oppose the lese majeste law, would benefit equally from the MFP's bill.
But Mr Thanathorn and those other FFP figures facing a lese majeste lawsuit have told the MFP in their constant communication that they would give up their right to the amnesty as they know if they, too, benefit from a new law, some groups would definitely exploit that as a reason to criticise and even campaign against the MFP's amnesty bill, said Mr Chaithawat.