By Thai Newsroom Reporters
MOVE FORWARD LEADER Pita Limjaroenrat today (Jan.28) reconfirmed he has already prepared to become Thailand’s 30th prime minister, denying further rule of coup leader-turned-premier Prayut Chan-o-cha and others associated with the 2014 coup junta.
Delivering a campaign speech at Thammasat University Rangsit campus, Pita called on the people nationwide to only vote for the Move Forward so his party could become core of a post-election government with himself being elected prime minister at parliament.
Nevertheless, the 250 senators all of whom had been handpicked by the coup junta under leadership of the then-army chief Prayut will almost certainly not pick the Move Forward leader for head of a post-election government.
The unelected senators legally empowered to pick partisan candidates for prime minister alongside 500 elected MPs are largely believed to only vote either for Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan or Prayut who is seeking to prolong his rule for two more years under the Ruam Thai Sang Chart banners.
Pita said the top-priority mission of the Move Forward in the nationwide election is to turn off the “Sam Por” powers once and for all.
“Sam” means three and “Por” is the initial in Thai alphabet for Prayut, Prawit and Interior Minister Anupong “Pok” Paojinda, a “fraternal” relationship among whom has dated back many years since their respective time as army chief.
Pita insisted that the junta-related Palang Pracharath and Ruam Thai Sang Chart be overwhelmingly outvoted by the Move Forward in the general election.
The Move Forward leader stopped short of mentioning the Pheu Thai, guided by de facto party boss/former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and other anti-Prayut camps.
If successfully named prime minister, Pita said he will hold a public referendum within 100 days for amendment to the whole junta-designed constitution.
“I am ready to become Thailand’s 30th prime minister and the Move Forward has been prepared as the core of a coalition government with the top-priority mission of turning off the ‘Sam Por’ powers and rendering hopes for a prosperous future. Vote for the Move Forward and the country will never be the same,” Pita said.
Meanwhile, Prayut today set off his campaign trail in the provinces, beginning with Chumphon where he pledged to retain power with the Ruam Thai Sang Chart focusing on southern constituencies where he is yet viewed as a popular contender for head of a post-election government.
Each contesting party is bound to have a minimum of five percent of the total of MPs, accounting for 25, to be eligible to name a partisan candidate for prime minister.
Prayut told southern villagers on his campaign stump that the Ruam Thai Sang Chart was not set up only to exist for a couple of years as some may have feared, given the two-year period for his sought-after retainment of power as allowed by law.
Prayut said if the Ruam Thai Sang Chart became government after the general election, they would certainly continue to promote the current government’s economy-boosting packages such as the co-payment and state welfare cards for the poor as well as measures to contain social disparity.
Given today’s royal approval for the constitution’s organic laws pertaining to the election for MPs and political parties, it remains to be seen how soon Prayut may dissolve the House of Representatives to call a general election in 60 days or else he may as well decide to live out the House’s four-year term to call the nationwide race to parliament in 45 days.
In the former case, all electoral contestants are legally obliged to have been registered with a contesting party for a minimum of 30 days prior to the election date. In the latter case, they are legally bound to have been partisan members for a minimum of 90 days ahead of the election date.
Nevertheless, Prayut is more or less speculated to not dissolve the House until a week or two before its four-year term may otherwise end on March 23.
Top: Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat
Insert: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Front Page: The audience at Thammasat University Rangsit campus clap as they listen to Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s speech. All photos: Thai Rath