The Bhumjaithai, United Thai Nation (UTN), Palang Pracharat and Democrat parties have reiterated their stance that their MPs will not vote in favour of Pita Limjaroenrat from the Move Forward Party (MFP) due to their opposition to the MFP policy to amend the royal defamation law or Section 112 of the Criminal Code, while the Chartthaipattana Party is still undecided.
On the day before the vote on who will become PM, several parties not included in the MFP-led coalition expressed their position.
Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, said the party’s stance on PM selection was clearly stated on 17 May 2023. The Party has considered the opinions of its members and expects everyone to follow party policy. He stated that the final decision will depend on the day of voting, as the Party needs to wait and see who will be nominated or if any alternative options will be available.
When asked about the possibility of abstaining from voting if Pita were the sole candidate, Anutin affirmed that the Party cannot support any party which intends to amend the royal defamation law. And at the same time, he disagreed with the idea of a minority government.
Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, Deputy Leader of the UTN, emphasised that any action of the Party must adhere to its consensus. The Party has a clear stance on PM selection and opposes the MFP’s candidate. He made it clear that the Party will not compete in the PM selection. He also added that whether Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha remains in the Party or not does not affect the Party’s position.
A Palang Pracharat Party meeting took a long time to discuss PM selection. Gen Prawit Wongsuwan said during the meeting that the Party must be united, and the Party will not support a candidate who does not support the royal defamation law. He also added that the Party might abstain from PM voting on 13 July 2023.
A senior MP said commented that abstaining from voting is similar to expressing disapproval. The pressure of public opinion is quite strong, and it might have consequences for MPs in their constituencies.
UTN MP Thammanat Prompao said several senators gave interviews indicating their intention to abstain. This caused Gen Prawit to note that the Party will revisit this matter on the day of the vote.
Sunatcha Losataphornpipit, Democrat Party MP from Trang, stated in an interview after a Party meeting that the Party’s 25 MPs reached a consensus to abstain from voting for the PM on 13 July 2023. This decision was made because the Party has a clear stance of not supporting any party that advocates for the amendment of Section 112.
When asked why the decision was made to abstain instead of voting against, Sunatcha explained that everyone agreed to follow parliamentary tradition. In 2019, the Future Forward Party abstained in the vote for Prime Minister Gen Prayut, who had a majority in the Parliament. This incident serves as the basis for the Democrat Party’s decision to abstain.
"I would like to confirm that the decision to abstain from voting was not reached through external negotiations with former government coalition parties. It was a consensus reached within the meeting of the Party’s 25 MPs," said Sunatcha.
Meanwhile, Varawut Silpa-archa, leader of the Chartthaipattana Party, stated that the Party will hold a meeting at parliament on 13 July 2023 before the parliamentary session. He noted that the Party needs to consider each side's opinions and proposals before casting its votes.
A reporter asked about the party’s executive meeting where some members suggested abstaining, while others proposed voting. In the end, the 10 Party MPs will need to have discussions and reach a consensus before making a decision.