Thousands turn out in Bangkok to rally for Thai PM frontrunner Pita

Bangkok, Jul 9 (EFE).- Thousands of Thais rallied on Sunday in Bangkok in support for Thailand’s prime ministerial candidate, Pita Limjaroenrat, ahead of a parliamentary vote next week.

Pita’s followers gathered in the business district of the Thai capital despite the rain, many dressed in orange to show their support to the progressive Move Forward party that he leads which secured a surprise win in the May 14 elections.

“We want Pita as the 30th prime minister,” read some posters carried by supporters who surrounded a stage where other young Move Forward politicians addressed the crowd.

Pita has the support of 312 of the 500 members of parliament, who were elected in the recent polls, that make up the House of Representatives.

However, the coalition he leads, made up of Move Forward – which obtained 151 seats in the elections – and seven other parties, does not have many sympathies among conservative deputies or the 250 members of the Senate, who were appointed by the military junta that ruled from 2014 to 2019.

To become prime minister, Thailand’s military-drafted constitution requires the support of at least 376 members of the bicameral parliament, who are scheduled to vote on Thursday morning.

“There will be many obstacles. But we will stick together! If we stand united, everything is possible. It’s time to end fear, it’s time for hope,” the 42-year-old Pita told his supporters.

Move Forward, which needs at least another 64 endorsements, is confident of making up the numbers, the party’s deputy leader, Sirikanya Tansakun, told the media on Friday.

If Pita is not elected in this round, the speaker of the Parliament has called for two possible new votes, on July 19 and 20, although so far no alternative contenders have emerged.

Ahead of the vote, the police have requested reinforcements to warn of possible demonstrations in the capital, similar to the protests in 2020 by young university students calling for democratic reforms.

The protest movement, which even calls for reform of the monarchy – which is shielded from criticism by draconian laws that impose heavy prison sentences – is one of the voter bases that propelled Move Forward to victory at the polls. EFE


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