Thanathorn shrugs off warning on Senate campaign
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Thanathorn shrugs off warning on Senate campaign

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, chairman of the Progressive Movement (File photo)
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, chairman of the Progressive Movement (File photo)

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, chairman of the Progressive Movement, on Monday shrugged off the Election Commission (EC)'s warning regarding the group's current campaign encouraging people to run in the Senate race.

He said the campaign was intended to raise awareness and public participation to ensure inclusiveness in the upcoming Senate election, which he said was not against any laws.

Mr Thanathorn, who took the group's campaign to Sakon Nakhon and Mukdahan yesterday, said he would continue the activity while suggesting that the EC's warning could be seen as the poll agency overstepping its authority.

The EC is warning against encouraging people to register as candidates through certain groups or associations, claiming such actions could manipulate the process. It says individuals found guilty of manipulating the senator election process could be banned from participating in politics for life.

The warning is believed to target the Progressive Movement over claims it is attempting to manipulate the Senate election process by encouraging its supporters to stand as Senate election candidates. The group launched a website,, for potential candidates ahead of the election to introduce themselves but it was shut down on Friday night, with a notice saying that “due to unclear regulations of the EC”, it is temporarily inaccessible.

"If the majority of the people don't care about the Senate election and only a few groups take part in it, the process will be prone to vote-buying and collusion. People [from certain groups] will be recruited to apply, which is against the purpose of the contest, which wants inclusivity and diversity," Mr Thanathorn said.

Asked about criticism that the group's move would lead to "the orange Senate", a reference to the Senate filled with members sharing the group's stances, he said the campaign simply encourages people to run regardless of political viewpoints. The more the applicants, the better for Thai politics, he added.

The EC says the new 200-member Senate, which will replace the junta-appointed 250-member chamber that expires on May 10, must be politically neutral, and candidates are only allowed to make self-introductions and are prohibited from launching political campaigns.

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