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Chaithawat Tulathon, former Secretary-General of the Move Forward Party, has been chosen as the party’s new leader following Pita Limjaroenrat’s resignation. The party also appointed new spokespersons and a board of consultants.

A graduate of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Engineering, Chaithawat previously worked for the People’s Information Center: the April-May 2010 Crackdowns (PIC), a network of activists and academics which worked on a fact-finding report about the April-May 2010 crackdown on the Red Shirt protests. He has also worked as a consultant for Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and as an editor for Same Sky Books, which publishes academic research and books about Thai politics. He was also a student activist and served as the Secretary-General of the Student Federation of Thailand between 1998 and 1999.

Chaithawat was a founder and Deputy Secretary-General of the now-defunct Future Forward Party. He later became the Move Forward Party’s Secretary-General. He was chosen as Move Forward’s new party leader during an extraordinary general meeting on Saturday (23 September).

The party also elected new executive board members. Apichat Sirisoontorn, Nakornpong Supanimittrakul, and Nateepat Kulsetthasith were appointed Secretary-General, Registrar, and Treasurer respectively. Meanwhile, Somchai Fangchonjit, Apisit Promrit, Bencha Saengchantra, and Suthep U-on were elected board members.

The party also voted to appoint a board of consultants. Pita was appointed chair of the consultant board, while Veerayooth Kanchoochat, the party’s economic policy researcher, and Decharut Sukkumnoed, Director of the policy-making group Think Forward Center, were appointed party consultants.

Phicharn Chaowapatanawong, Nutthawut Buaprathum, Supisarn Bhakdinarinath, and Sirikanya Tansakul, were appointed deputy party leaders. Surachet Pravinvongvuth, Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat, and Natthaphong Ruengpanyawut were appointed Deputy Secretaries-General.

Meanwhile, Parit Wacharasindhu was appointed the party’s new spokesperson. Karoonpon Tieansuwan and Pukkamon Nunarnan were appointed deputy spokespersons.

Chaithawat said after he was elected party leader that the new arrangement is temporary, as Pita’s suspension means that he is unable to take on the role of opposition leader, and that he and the new executive board are willing to step down once Pita’s suspension ended.

Section 106 of the current constitution stipulates that the leader of the opposition must be an MP from the party with the largest number of MPs with no members holding the office of the House Speaker or the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. Since the party has decided that it will be taking the role of opposition leader, which is crucial for setting the opposition’s direction, Chaithawat said that the new executive board will be having a discussion with MP Padipat Suntiphada, now serving as a Deputy House Speaker, in the coming weeks about his decision regarding the position. 

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