Despite his election victory, Pita Limjaroenrat was unable to take over as prime minister in May 2023. The junta did not want that.
Last year Thailand witnessed a major upset: unexpected election winner Pita Limjaronrat and his progressive Move Forward Party promised anything other than a realignment of Thai politics. Pita Limjaroenrat was celebrated like a star. “Thank you for being part of the change! The victory of the Move Forward Party is a victory for the people! He said while addressing his supporters.
The previous day, his party won the elections by a landslide. The parties close to the military council, which have been in power for nearly ten years, occupied the lowest positions. The Thai people have expressed their wishes very clearly, Pita told international media at a press conference. Pita said in perfect English that he was ready to take over as Prime Minister.
Peeta grew up in a wealthy, politically well-connected home, and spent part of his school days in New Zealand. He later studied in Thailand and the United States, including Harvard University.
In an interview with Thai television, Pita said that he was interested in politics from an early age. “When I was 12 or 13, my host family in New Zealand only had three TV channels. These showed rugby, cricket or news from Parliament. “While I was doing my homework, I listened to the parliamentary debates and realized how important these debates were,” Peta says. As leader of the Move Forward party, Pieta promised, among other things, to reform the powerful military establishment and relax the strict lese majeste law.
Unwanted in government
But those in power in the country do not want the reformist to be in government. They want to remove him from power with legal tricks, accusations and lawsuits. In the end, PETA failed due to parliamentary election procedures. Because: Senators appointed by the junta vote – unsurprisingly – against PETA. Pita told the media after the first round of voting that he would not give up.
Beta is then eliminated from the second round of voting. Finally, the opposition party Pyu Thai – which was defeated by PETA in the elections – enters a coalition that also includes parties close to the junta. Well-known real estate entrepreneur Sreetha Thavisinh will be the Prime Minister.
We have to turn our tears into the energy we need in the upcoming elections.
The fact that former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted from office, returned from exile at around the same time indicates an agreement between the former opposition party Pheu Thai and the establishment. The losers are PETA, his party and democracy.
In an interview with Voice of America's Thai Service, Pita said plainly: “I've seen a lot in Thai politics over the past 20 years. Parties that were dissolved, politicians whose powers were limited. I've seen the cruelty of politics.”
One can easily see the actual election winner and bearer of hope as a tragic hero. But: Peta Limjaroenrat continues to make public appearances, acts as an advisor to his party and does not seem to be someone who gives up so easily. “I don't take it personally, and I shouldn't be sad either,” he says. We have to turn our tears into the energy we need in the upcoming elections.”
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