Thais protest in the streets and online against the Senate handpicked by the extinct military junta

Bangkok (BLAZETRENDS)

In Bangkok, hundreds of people participated in a march in cars to express their rejection of the senators’ blockade, while others expressed their discontent on social networks, according to the Bangkok Post.

Some senators have blamed the followers of the Move Forward party for launching a “witch hunt” against them after the party’s leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, failed to become head of government last Thursday due to the rejection of most of the senators.

The coalition led by Pita, which also includes Pheu Thai, has a vast majority of 312 of the 500 deputies in the House of Representatives, but 249 senators also participate in the prime minister’s election (one resigned last Wednesday ) appointed by the former military junta (2014-2019).

Demonstration in Thailand
Demonstration through the streets of Bangkok. BLAZETRENDS/EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

The candidate must achieve an absolute majority between the sum of the two chambers, but Pita only achieved 324 supports, 51 less than necessary to be appointed prime minister.

Pita was only supported by 13 senators, while 34 abstained, 159 voted against, and 43 were absent.

The biggest stumbling block is Avanzar’s electoral promise to amend the lèse majesté law, which provides for prison terms of up to 15 years for anyone who criticizes the royal family.

This is vehemently opposed by the majority of the senators, mostly military and conservative politicians.

The Senate was created and elected by the military junta

The Constitutional Court accepts a complaint against the winning party of the elections in Thailand

Thailand’s Senate was created and fully elected by the military junta, which seized power in a 2014 coup and dissolved after the 2019 election.

The current Constitution, drafted by the military during the dictatorial regime, stipulates a 5-year term for senators, which ends in 2024.

Pita indicated that he will present his candidacy again on July 19 and that his party will also try to abolish the article that empowers senators to participate in the election of the prime minister.

However, the progressive candidate said he will pass the baton to another candidate from his coalition if he fails to be voted prime minister in Parliament.

Moving forward, with a deep reformist agenda, has great support among young voters and the protesters who took to the streets in 2020 and 2021 to demand profound changes in the country, including the reform of the lèse majesté law.

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