Students Criticize Senators and MPs Who Abstained From Vote

The Student Council of Thammasat University released a statement criticizing Thursday’s prime ministerial vote, arguing that parliamentarians and senators who acted contrary to public sentiment or didn’t vote at all were a disgrace.

The council’s Standing Committee on Politics and Democracy Promotion issued this censure in the aftermath of the vote during a shared meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP), was unsuccessful in his attempt to become the 30th Prime Minister of the country, as he failed to get the requisite support from half the parliament.

The MFP had previously emerged victorious in the general elections on May 14, securing 151 seats in the House.

The final count was 324 votes in support, 182 opposed, and 199 abstaining out of the 705 members present at the session.

Mr. Pita, the only candidate nominated, required 375 votes from the total 749 seats in the House and Senate. One senator had stepped down the day before the vote.

The MFP leader managed to garner 311 votes in his favour from MPs, while 148 opposed him and 39 abstained. From the senators, he only secured 13 votes, with 34 opposing and 159 abstaining.

The university council’s committee declared that the MPs and senators who opposed or abstained had defied the will of the people, as manifested in the May 14 general elections.

The MFP had won the election with 151 seats in the House, and its leader had received public support to be the next prime minister.

“Your action is disgusting and disgraceful to the constitutional monarchy system and the country’s political history.”

“You ignore your roles as being representatives of Thai people who are duty-bound to perform tasks for the benefits of the nation and people’s well-being,” stated the standing committee, rebuking MPs and senators who voted against Mr. Pita or abstained.

The committee urged MPs and appointed senators to respect the results of the election.

“Children in the nation development era will lead the country for prosperity but senators will lead the county to disaster,” the statement read.

Numerous MFP followers expressed dissatisfaction with Thursday’s outcome, though they conceded it wasn’t unexpected. They called on appointed senators to respect their voting decisions.

Before the combined session, hundreds of MFP supporters assembled close to the parliament to display their support for the MFP leader.

The designated meeting area could hold approximately 300 people simultaneously, according to Rujira Arin, the Dusit District office’s chief.

The 710-square-metre space had been allocated for MFP supporters by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), as stated by deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek.

The Kiak Kai government centre is located across from the parliamentary buildings.

Amarat Chokepamitkul, a member of the MFP board, attended the gathering to witness Thursday’s vote.

The BMA cooperated with the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) to maintain peace and order, Ms Rachada reported.

Furthermore, the MPB issued a directive prohibiting assemblies within a 50-metre radius of the parliament, starting 6am on Wednesday and lasting till midnight Friday, Ms Rachada said.

The order, sanctioned by the MPB chief under the 2015 Public Gatherings Act, led to traffic being diverted to facilitate the MFP supporters’ assembly, and a number of police officers were deployed in the area.

The interim Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, acknowledged the people’s right to express their political beliefs and monitor the parliamentary proceedings, she said.

General Prayut also advised MFP supporters to comply with the law, avoid violence and conflict, and emphasized the necessity for security personnel to abide by crowd management guidelines based on international standards, stated Ms Rachada.