Former top cop urges senators to vote for Pita as next PM

SUNDAY, JUNE 04, 2023

Seree Ruam Thai Party leader Sereepisuth Temeeyaves is urging senators to vote for Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat as the next prime minister.

The former national police chief is also dismissing talk that a government led by Pita will amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code, saying that would be impossible.

Sereepisuth said in a video clip posted on his Facebook page on Sunday that the three-page memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Move Forward and its seven coalition partners does not include a plan for the next government to amend Article 112.

“Senators should not be worried. I would like to confirm with them that I won’t allow [Article 112] to be changed,” he says in the video.

He personally opposes any attempt to amend the law because he took oath as a police officer to protect the monarchy, he says, adding that senators should not say they are safeguarding Article 112 – also known as the lese majeste law – as an excuse to avoid voting for Pita.

His party, the Prachachart Party, the Pheu Thai Party, and smaller parties in the previous ruling coalition will not allow Article 112 to be changed, Sereepisuth said.

“We are all opposed to amending the law, so it cannot be changed,” Sereepisuth said.

The Pracharchart and Pheu Thai parties are among those that signed the MoU to form a coalition led by Move Forward.

The Move Forward won the May 14 election, with 151 MPs. It announced it was forming a coalition with Seree Ruam Thai and six other parties.

The coalition has a total of 312 MPs, but because the 250 coup-appointed senators will join the Lower House in voting for Thailand’s next prime minister, it will need 376 votes to elect Pita.

The coalition needs support from up to 64 more MPs and/or senators to reach the 376 threshold to elect Pita as the next prime minister.

Several of the most reactionary senators have been claiming that Move Forward is opposed to the monarchy and that it plans to amend Article 112. They are urging their peers to vote against Pita to protect the monarchy, Senate sources said.