New party tasked with forming gov’t in Thailand begins round of talks

Bangkok, Jul 22 (EFE).- Pheu Thai, the party which finished second in the May elections, opened government formation talks with other groups on Saturday.

Pheu Thai have been tasked with forming an executive after the candidate from winning party Move Forward, Pita Limjaroenrat, was blocked from becoming prime minister by the pro-military and royalist senators – who were appointed by the junta that ruled the country from 2014 to 2019 – during two votes in parliament this month.

Leaders of Pheu Thai, which is associated with exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, met with their counterparts from Bhumjaithai, the party which came third in the May 14 polls, and fifth-placed United Thai Nation, formerly led by outgoing prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha who led the 2014 military coup that ousted Pheu Thai.

However, neither Bhumjaithai nor United Thai Nation want to be associated with Move Forward, which pledged in its campaign to amend a law – known as lese majeste – that shields the Thai monarchy from criticism or insult.

Defaming the royal family carries prison sentences of between three to 15 years.

In addition to seeing his candidacy blocked last week, Move Forward’s Pita was dismissed as a parliamentarian by the constitutional court for a controversial case related to the possession of shares in an inactive media channel, a decision the party denounced as a political maneuver.

The court also accepted another complaint last week against the party, accused of trying to “overthrow” the country’s democratic system because of its royal reformist stance, which could disqualify it from running and set prison terms for its board of directors.

The parliamentary blockade has triggered a political crisis and the start of student-led protests reminiscent of the 2020 and 2021 mobilizations. EFE


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