A group of Thai senators came out to warn netizens of defamation lawsuits after they were reportedly bombarded with negative comments, due to their decision not to support or abstain from voting for Pita Limjaroenrat, a candidate from the victorious Move Forward Party, for the position of Prime Minister.
The group, led by senator Seri Suwanpanon, gathered at the Parliament building on Monday, July 17th, to disclose to the public that they and other senators are being harassed on social media by alleged supporters of the Move Forward Party.
Seri claimed that this was the result of their decision not to vote in favor of Pita in becoming a premier on July 13th.
The harassers were exhibiting hatred and anger towards the senators by threatening to ban their personal businesses, attack their families, stalk them, and going as far as trying to incriminate senators of having a mistress said Seri.
This not only infringed upon the senators’ personal rights but also those of their families, Seri stated.
He continued that some of the senators’ children were also attacked online by the harassers. This led to the affected senators having to estabish a legal team to file defamation lawsuits against the harassers.
Seri revealed that today he is currently suing at least 2 individuals for defamation. The legal team is gathering evidence to pursue additional cases. Seri stated that everyone had their right to their opinion but not to stage personal attacks against others and their family members and businesses that were not part of the political situation.
He mentioned that as for the second round of the prime ministerial vote on July 19th, Pita should not be proposed as a candidate again because according to him, it violates the parliamentary regulations. TPN Media notes, however, that the Move Forward Party and their coalition has nominated Pita Limjaroenrat once again and disagree with this, claiming the Prime Minister vote is not against regulations of resubmitting failed measures as those apply only to bills and not votes for Prime Minister.
Seri retaliated that he will never vote for the Move Forward Party’s candidate and also for the Pheu Thai Party’s if Move Forward remains a part of the coalition.
On another note, one of the Pheu Thai Party’s PM candidates Srettha Thavisin revealed on Monday that he is ready to be nominated as a premier if Pita and Move Forward Party cannot form a government.
He said: “If I’m not ready, then why would I become a candidate?”
Srettha added, however, that his nomination still needs to be discussed within the 8-party coalition. He went on to emphasize the need for the speedy establishment of the government in order to tackle economic issues, such as soaring living costs.
When asked if it is possible that the coalition will ultimately have to form a government without the Move Forward Party, Srettha answered that he does not know.
The second vote for Prime Minister, with Pita as the candidate once again for the coalition, will take place Wednesday, July 19th. Pita has been busy behind the scenes personally calling and speaking with senators and those who voted no for him to attempt to overcome their fears and reservations and gain their support.
TPN media notes that the most controversial part of Pita’s platform is his support for amending (not abolishing) the Lese Majeste law. Many of those who voted no for him said their votes would change if Pita was able to drop this measure. Pita, however, said this will not happen as that would be betraying his voters.
The Move Forward Party is also working on a bill to legally remove the right of senators to vote for the Prime Minister, as we reported here. This is, however, a monumental task and unlikely to succeed, say many analysts.