Thailand’s Parliament Blocks Nomination of Progressive Leader as Prime Minister
In a major setback for Thailand’s progressive opposition party, Thailand’s parliament has blocked the nomination of Pita Limjaroenrat as the country’s prime minister. Out of the 715 members of parliament present, 395 voted to block the second nomination, while 312 voted for it. Eight members abstained from voting, and Pita himself did not cast a vote.
Pita, the leader of the Move Forward Party, was temporarily suspended as a lawmaker by the constitutional court following a complaint filed against him by the Election Commission. The commission accused Pita of violating election laws. This suspension further weakened his chances of securing the prime minister’s post.
The Move Forward Party, led by Pita, had campaigned on a platform of deep structural reforms in various areas including the military, economy, decentralization of power, and monarchy. However, with the parliament’s decision to block his nomination, the party’s progressive agenda is facing significant challenges.
The past national elections held in May saw a remarkable record turnout, signaling a powerful rebuke to the military-backed establishment that has been ruling Thailand since 2014. The decision of the court and parliament to block Pita’s nomination may trigger mass street protests by Move Forward’s young support base, who were instrumental in the party’s surge in popularity during the elections.
This is not the first setback for Pita. Last week, he failed to secure enough parliamentary votes to become prime minister. The current political system heavily favors the conservative establishment, making it difficult for progressive leaders like Pita to assume power and implement their proposed reforms.
Thailand’s conservative establishment, which includes the military, monarchy, and influential elites, has a long history of blocking fundamental changes to the status quo. The country has witnessed numerous coups and topplings of democratically elected governments over the past century, reflecting the deep-rooted challenges faced by progressive forces striving for change.
With his second nomination blocked and his suspension as a lawmaker, Pita’s future as a political leader remains uncertain. As Thailand grapples with ongoing political tensions, the divide between the conservative establishment and the progressive opposition party continues to shape the country’s path towards change.
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