In the afternoon parliamentary session of 13 July 2023 to select a new PM, the royal defamation law remained the hot topic.
Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, leader of the Thai Liberal Party, spoke as one who has faced a royal defamation charge, pointing out that it is not unusual to amend laws.
He stated that despite his dedication to work for the monarchy, he still faced a charge under this law. Then what about ordinary people?
Senator Seree Suwanpanont argued that Pita should not be PM, asserting that the senators separate themselves from the voice of the people. He claimed that they are carrying out the crucial duty of protecting the country and the monarchy.
Seree said the votes that the Move Forward Party (MFP) gained do not align with the consensus of the people, as it obtained only 14 million votes while the remaining votes were won by other parties. He stated that he upholds the constitution and would not vote for a candidate who defames the monarchy and possesses attributes prohibited by law.
Thai Teachers For People Party MP Preeda Boonplerng confirmed that he supports the party with the most seats to form a government. If the biggest party could not form a government, he would support the second biggest party. He said if no party could form a government, he would support a non-MP prime minister.
New Party MP Kritdithat Saengthanayothin said he supports the first-ranked party but opposes amendment of the royal defamation law.
Thai Sang Thai MP Takorn Tantasith asserted the party’s stance to vote for the biggest party.
Senator Somchai Swangkarn, former member of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly, announced that he will not vote for Pita when the MFP forces senators to select a PM in accordance with a majority vote, saying that it goes against the principle of democracy and resembles a dictatorship. He reiterated that 250 senators are appointed to be representatives of the Thai people with the right to cast their votes like the elected lower house.
MFP MP Parit Wacharasindhu asserted that the purpose of the parliamentary debate is to select a new PM, not to debate the royal defamation law. He stated that the most important focus should be restoring normality to Thai politics. Voting for Pita as the next PM is an opportunity for Thailand to move forward.
Another MFP MP, Rangsiman Rome, discussed the controversy over media shares used by senators as an excuse to block Pita from becoming PM. He noted that Thanathorn did not face problems in the previous PM vote even if he was suspended from his parliamentary duty due to ownership of media shares.
He refuted the accusation that the party is attempting to overthrow the government system, saying that the only such actions he has witnessed have been coups d'état
MP Wittaya Kaewparadai, Deputy Leader of the United Thai Nation Party, remarked on the unusual circumstance of a single party proposing an amendment to the royal defamation law. He called for the MFP to reconsider this issue.