June 15, 2024

Columbus Post

Complete News World

Pita Limjaroenrat: Interview with Thai Election Winner – News

Pita Limjaroenrat: Interview with Thai Election Winner – News

Pita Limjaronrath and his Move Forward party won Thailand’s election last year. The conservative establishment did not let them rule. The Constitutional Court will now decide whether to dissolve the party and ban him from politics. He explains in the interview how he feels about it.

Pita limjaroenrat


Open the People box
Close the people box

Pita Limjaroenrat, 43, is a Thai politician and businessman. In 2023, he won an election in Thailand with his progressive party “Move-Forward”, but was not allowed to govern. His party supports, among other things, the abolition of conscription and the reform of the monarchy.

SRF News: Pita Limjaronrath, you may be banned from politics?

Pita Limjaronrath: Yes, for life.

Can the court also dissolve your party?

For the second time in five years!

Are you disappointed?

I am deeply disappointed. Not only because I did not become the Prime Minister, but because of the betrayal of the strength of this country. A people-oriented government that listens to the people can achieve this. But I can wait. My time – our time – will come. Even ten years from now. Not a single thing.

They can destroy our home, but not our spirit.

What would the moving forward party do if it was indeed dissolved by the Constitutional Court?

We will move to a new house. This is not the first time we have formed a new party. We already know how it works: it’s easy for us. They can destroy our house but not our spirit. In the short term they will remove us, but in the long run we will come back stronger and our new home will be even bigger with a new name.

The Move Forward Party (MFP) and its predecessor, the Future Forward Party (FFP), have sparked a long-absent enthusiasm for politics in Thailand.

The first party was founded by millionaire Thanathorn Juangroongroongit and had a modern look. He spoke directly to the concerns of many young people, ran a brilliant campaign on social media and called for the departure of the “dinosaurs” in the military government at the time. He cited European social democracies as political models. In 2019, FFP won an astonishing 17 percent of the vote.

A year later it was dissolved by the Constitutional Court. The successor party, the MFP, won an astonishing 38 percent of the vote in 2023. The Constitutional Court is currently discussing a dissolution once again.

Did you expect this when you stood for election last year?

These are institutionalized processes in the country. This is not a personal attack on me. That’s part of the game. You win an election, then they destroy your party, you win again, and they destroy you again. I’m trying to stop this game. Thailand is not a TV series like “House of Cards”! It’s about real life.

Thailand has stood still for 20 years, but people urgently want change. They are beginning to understand what it means to have strong institutions instead of party-run politicians like the AIADMK. We want a party for the people that will reform Thailand and stand for constitutional monarchy.

The Constitutional Court is debating whether you want to bring about the “abolition of the monarchy” with your promise to change the article on lese majeste law. Do you still want to amend Section 112?

See also  Russia's central bank has warned against traveling to Switzerland

We want to change the law so that it is not used as a weapon against political enemies. There are advantages and disadvantages to protecting the head of state so tightly. Thailand should be a constitutional monarchy. We want to ensure that King is apolitical through our transition. We thought we could discuss this in Parliament, but now it is seen as rebellion and treason. It’s a disappointment. Where else should this be discussed? On the street? On social media? We thought Parliament was a common platform.

The dreaded section 112

Open the box
Box zuklappen

In Thailand, anyone found guilty of les majestes faces 3 to 15 years in prison per count. The definition of passage is broad: a Facebook post, a suggestive ad or a political slogan can lead to accusations. After the street protests that began in Thailand in 2020, the number of charges has increased sharply. Today 270 people are awaiting trial. They are mostly student leaders or political activists. Experts speak of “the rule of law,” by which they mean that judicial institutions in Thailand are being abused for political purposes. About the Law of Les Majesties.

It’s been the same song for 20 years: A party wins at the ballot box, but is later dissolved by the courts. Where do you get the confidence to change that?

I have no hope. It is very difficult to escape from the vicious circle. It takes steel and nerve. Like European countries, we have an anti-corruption commission, an electoral commission and a constitutional court. It looks good on paper, but in reality the political rulers use it to their advantage. You need these institutions to prevent change. I am confident that I will continue to win the elections and also win the hearts of the people. This will take time.

I am a bridge, not a bomb! A resource and not a rebel!

Will Thailand change?

See also  Ticker for war in Middle East: Pirates hijack merchant ship off Somalia coast

If you get stuck in the system, you sometimes lose hope and feel like you can’t change anything. But we will soon introduce same-sex marriage, for example. It’s about dominating the headlines. The younger generation is already taking many modern ideas with them. Laws may change again, but ideas remain. I believe that Thailand will never be the same country in terms of thinking. I see myself as a bridge-builder between these new ideas and old institutions. I am a bridge, not a bomb! A resource and not a rebel! I am not a terrorist as many people think.

The interview was conducted by Lucas Mesmer and Martin Altrovandi.