Pita-led coalition signs landmark MoU in symbolic message on coup anniversary
A coalition of eight parties led by Move Forward signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as a prelude to setting up the next government, outlining 23 missions for the new administration.
The leaders of the coalition partners — Move Forward Party, Pheu Thai Party, Thai Sang Thai Party, Prachachart Party, Seree Ruam Thai Party, Pheu Thai Ruam Palang Party, Fair Party, and Plung Sungkom Mai Party — got together on Monday to announce the signing of a joint agreement to form the government.
Prime Minister-in-waiting Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of Move Forward, which emerged as the party with the most number of seats after the May 14 election, said that the MoU would be the basis for forming the coalition government and collaboration between the parties. He said all the parties agreed that no mission of the government should affect the country's status as a unitary state, as a democracy under a constitutional monarchy framework, and the inviolable status of the monarch.
The date and time chosen for the signing of this MoU held great symbolic significance, as it marked the 9th anniversary of the 2014 military coup, he said. The coup toppled the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra and brought General Prayut Chan-o-cha to power as the prime minister.
This MoU symbolically closes the chapter of Prayut Chan-o-cha's leadership, Pita said before revealing the contents of the MoU.
He clarified that the content regarding support for alcoholic beverages is being discussed and the Prachachart Party reserves the right to disagree based on religious principles.
As for the move to reclassify cannabis as a controlled substance with new laws regulating and supporting its beneficial uses, Pita said: “Shop owners who followed the rules and protocols and did everything correctly would not have to worry about any impact. However, those involved in illegal imports, who open shops without any permits will face the full weight of the law so that we can control and slowly adjust Thai society, especially school children, to the exposure to cannabis,” he said.
Pita said the purpose behind creating an MoU was to bring together mutual interests and foster cooperation through the mechanisms of government and parliament. It is a collective responsibility shared by the coalition parties in the government, he said.
The following are the 23 key missions that all eight parties in the coalition have agreed to work towards:
1. Restore democracy, including expediting the process of drafting a new constitution by a Constitution Drafting Assembly elected directly by the people.
2. Affirm and pass the Marriage Equality Act to ensure equal rights for all couples, regardless of gender, without infringing upon the religious principles each individual adheres to.
3. Push for reforms in the civil service, police, military, and justice process to be in line with democratic principles, considering transparency, modernity, efficiency, and maximising the benefits for the people.
4. Transition from conscription to voluntary enlistment, except when the country is at war.
5. Collaborate on the process of building sustainable peace in the southern border provinces, considering human rights, coexistence in a multicultural society, participation of all sectors, and reviewing the missions of agencies and laws related to security.
6. Strive for decentralisation of power and budget allocation to enable localities to respond to the needs of their communities appropriately, efficiently, and without corruption.
7. Combat corruption through the establishment of a transparent and open government system, disclosing state information in all agencies.
8. Revive the economy by increasing people's incomes, reducing inequality, and creating a fair economic system that promotes growth.
9. Overhaul laws regarding people's livelihood and subsistence, such as temporarily suspending or reducing unnecessary and obstructive permits, providing financial relief and support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while focusing on GDP growth of SMEs, supporting industries, and strengthening Thai products to compete globally.
10. Abolish monopolies and promote fair competition in all industries, such as alcoholic beverages, with the Prachachart Party reserving its right to disagree on the alcohol industry only, due to religious reasons.
11. Reform the land distribution system by amending related laws, providing fair land distribution, resolving conflicts between state and people on land ownership, and reviewing cases resulting from the policy of forest reclamation.
12. Improve the electricity production structure, pricing calculations, and appropriate production capacity to reduce the cost of living and ensure energy security.
13. Establish a new budgeting system, emphasising the use of zero-based budgeting.
14. Create a comprehensive welfare system from birth to old age, considering appropriateness and long-term fiscal sustainability.
15. Combat the drug problem urgently.
16. Reclassify marijuana as a controlled substance by issuing a Ministry of Health notification, with new laws regulating and supporting its beneficial uses.
17. Promote safe agriculture and livestock farming, protect and maintain the benefits of farmers, and reduce production costs. Support marketing, access to technology, water resources. Encourage the formation of agricultural groups for production planning, protection of farmers’ benefit, and promotion of agro-processing industries to create economic value from agricultural production.
18. Revise fisheries laws, eliminate obstacles, remedy and develop sustainable fishing occupations.
19. Improve the rights of workers in all professions by ensuring fair employment conditions and remuneration that align with the cost of living and economic growth.
20. Elevate the healthcare system to ensure that the general public has access to quality healthcare services in terms of health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, and recovery.
21. Reform the educational system to enhance quality, reduce inequality, and promote lifelong learning.
22. Foster domestic and international cooperation and mechanisms to address pollution issues, including the reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions to net zero as quickly as possible.
23. Implement foreign policy initiatives to restore Thailand's leadership role in Asean and maintain balanced international relations between Thailand and major powers.
All the parties also agreed to cooperate in governing the country based on the following principles:
1. Protect the rights of citizens and their political rights.
2. Work with honesty and integrity. If any member of a party engages in corrupt or unethical behaviour, all parties will immediately terminate their position.
3. Work with mutual respect, sincerity, and support for each other's work. They will prioritise the interests of the people over the interests of any individual party.
4. Each party has the right to advocate additional policies, as long as they do not contradict the policies outlined in this joint agreement, through the executive power wielded by the ministers representing their respective parties in the government.
5. Each party has the right to advocate for additional policies as long as they do not contradict the policies outlined in this joint agreement, through the legislative power of the representatives from each political party.
The landmark MoU signing represents a new era of collective governance in Thailand, ending the dominance of the coup era, say political observers, adding that it signifies a fresh start and renewed hope for Thailand's future.