Thai opposition Move Forward sticks to election campaign bid to amend law on insulting monarchy

2 months ago 46

PATHUM THANI/ SAMUT PRAKAN, Thailand - A woman hands a bunch of roses to opposition Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat at a campaign rally in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, on March 17.

She raises both arms high, flashing three-finger salutes – a gesture borrowed from the Hunger Games films that has become a defining symbol of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement.

A week later on March 24, on a larger stage in Chonburi in eastern Thailand, youth protesters foist themselves on stage with a sign asking people to vote to “abolish” or “amend” Thailand’s lese majeste law. The law punishes those who insult the monarchy.

Mr Pita welcomes them, and lets them address the crowd. He then votes by placing a sticker in the “Abolish” column on their poster. The 10 Chonburi constituency candidates behind him follow suit. 

“However, I must apologise, but the party must push for amendments first,” he says. He notes that this step will be more feasible first, but if the amendments are still rejected, the party will push for its abolishment.

“This is why the people of Chonburi must elect our candidates to step forward, so we have enough votes to solve political problems,” Mr Pita tells the crowd.  

Move Forward Party has become synonymous with the anti-establishment crusade that asks for bold and sometimes brazen reforms, including the controversial call to revise Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code which carries a prison term of up to 15 years, if a person is found guilty of insulting the monarchy. 

As part of its 300 campaign promises, the party has committed to amending this contentious law, while other parties have stayed away from the matter. It is the only party with policy that proposes specific changes to the law, including reducing its punishment and reach.&nbsp...

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