Thai alliance signs pact aimed at ambitious reforms but not on royal insult law

  • An alliance led by Thailand’s progressive Move Forward Party (MFP) on 22 May signed an ambitious agreement to draft a new constitution, end monopolies and allow same-sex marriage, among other aims, but made no mention of a divisive royal insult law.
  • The opposition Move Forward and Pheu Thai parties dominated last week’s election in a resounding defeat of conservative parties backed by a royalist military that has controlled government since a 2014 coup. They are seeking to form a coalition government with six other parties, all of which signed the agreement on their objectives.
  • Move Forward’s leader Pita Limjaroenrat said the pact was “about shared values and commonalities and shared agenda and accountability”. “All parties can propose their own policies but must not violate this agreement through ministries,” he added in remarks made at a press conference after a day of negotiations.
  • Pita said on 22 May he did not think his party’s independent attempt to push reform of lese majeste laws will put off the upper house, whose backing the coalition needs to appoint a prime minister and form a government. “We have a team to explain how to amend it so it cannot be used as a political tool … this will ease the concern of senators,” he told reporters.
  • The alliance’s agreement includes most of Move Forward’s flagship polices, such as a push for decentralisation of power and budget and to “cancel monopolies and support fair competition in trade in all industries”. It also takes aim at the military, calling for ending mandatory conscription and reform of the armed forces as well as the justice system and civil service.

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