Star MPs being made in heat of budget battle


Move Forward’s debate tactics are inspiring the ruling Pheu Thai in parliamentary showdown

Political analysts say the Move Forward Party’s tactic of delivering vibrant, eye-catching debates in Parliament is now being emulated by other parties, including the ruling Pheu Thai.

Opposition Move Forward MPs use budget or no-confidence debates as a stage to capture attention through colourful rhetoric that pushes the party’s or speaker’s agenda. These lawmakers then grab the spotlight in media interviews after the debates, drawing a large viewership and taking on star status, analysts said.

This tactic has been so successful in creating “orange generals”, as high-profile Move Forward MPs are known, that the ruling Pheu Thai Party is keen to follow suit, analysts say.

Under the leadership of Paetongtarn Shinawatra, former PM Thaksin’s daughter, Pheu Thai has launched the PTP Academy, an institute dedicated to training its MPs in all aspects of professional politics.

The academy offers Pheu Thai lawmakers various platforms to hone their agendas and policies, sharpening their performance for the public stage. It also works closely with MPs to prepare party strategy before important debates in the Parliament.

For the ongoing debate on the 2025 budget, Pheu Thai has deployed over 20 MPs to explain each aspect of the bill, as well as counter questions posed by the opposition.

Chiang Rai MP Wisaradee Techateerawat has been tasked with defending the PM’s Office budget while Maha Sarakham’s MP Rat Klangsaeng is responsible for the defence budget, and party-list MP Thanathorn Lohsoontorn will take on the Finance Ministry budget.

Others in the spotlight are list MP Noppadon Pattama, who will fight for the Foreign Ministry budget, Ubon Ratchathani MP Kittunya Wajadee (Interior Ministry budget), and Nong Bua Lamphu MP Naphol Cheykhamhaeng (Justice Ministry budget).

The PTP Academy is expected to collect data from the debate and use it to formulate a strategy that helps Pheu Thai star MPs shine even brighter.

Move Forward meanwhile has assigned over 30 MPs to attack various aspects of the budget bill, as well as revealing how the opposition party would spend public money differently if it led the government.

Leading the charge are party leader Chaithawat Tulathon, deputy leader Sirikanya Tansakun, and economics team chief Wirot Lakkanaadisorn. Star-status Move Forward MPs have also been lined up for the budget debate, including Rangsiman Rome and Natthaphong Ruengpanyawut.

The party has also handed its first-time MPs the chance to debate the bill, including Bangkok’s Sirinpat Kongtrakarn, Nonthaburi’s Preedee Charoensin, and Samut Prakan’s Panida Mongkonsawat.

In essence, this budget debate serves as a platform where the Pheu Thai and Move Forward parties are competing to showcase their most compelling MPs, aiming to create memorable, impactful advocates for their respective agendas.