Will He Revolutionize Thailand’s Future as the Next Prime Minister?

-Sachinthani Ketakumbura

Contrary to popular belief, Pita Limjaroenrat leading the Move Forward Party ran against very powerful forces including the former Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha who has been prime minister since gaining power through a military coup in 2014 and Paetongtarn Shinawatra, coming from the infamous Shinawatra family from the Pheu Thai Party, to win the elections to become the next Prime Minister of Thailand.

Pita Limjaroenrat aged 42, received his education from top universities like Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He leads the Move Forward Party in Thailand and is a businessman. Pita also comes from a political background: his father served as an advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture, and his uncle was an aide to Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister who was overthrown in a military coup in 2006.

Pita Limjaroenrat, 42, the head of the Move Forward Party, would be one of Thailand’s youngest prime ministers if elected in 2023 after winning 151 of the 500 seats in the House of Representatives.

On 15th May, he made a resolute declaration of his preparedness to assume the position of Prime Minister, expressing it through a tweet that resonated with the nation:

“Dear fellow citizens,
Today, I, Pita Limjaroenrat, stand before you as a symbol of clarity and readiness to become the 30th Prime Minister of Thailand. We share the same aspirations, the same ambitions, and a steadfast belief that our beloved Thailand can prosper. The possibility of change lies within our grasp, starting today. Our dreams and aspirations are rooted in simplicity and unwavering determination. Regardless of whether you stand with me or against me, I vow to be your Prime Minister. Whether you cast your vote or choose not to, I am committed to serving you with utmost dedication…”

Many believe that Pita’s victory can be attributed to his leadership of an anti-militaristic progressive party. This starkly contrasts with the previous government, which was heavily militarized and associated with numerous human rights violations. As a result, Pita’s opposing viewpoint gained popularity, especially among the younger generation. His youth and energy enabled him to connect with disillusioned voters who desired change after eight years of military influence in governance.

Pita Limjaroenrat: Will He Revolutionize Thailand's Future as the Next Prime Minister?Pita Limjaroenrat plans to create a new government, “one that will make history once it takes office, as the youngest and most progressive government in Thai history.” He is undeterred and optimistic about the Move Forward Party’s victory and Thailand’s changed future.

Pita Limjaroenrat said during a new conference on Thursday (18) that this new government would be formed from the coalition signed by 8 parties who are supporting Pita Limjaroenrat to be the Prime Minister of the newly formed government to lead Thailand.

The proposed coalition would have 313 seats in the House of Representatives, a solid majority of its 500 seats. Move Forward Party and Pheu Thai Party together would have 293 seats. While the remaining 20 will be divided among 6 other parties namely, Prachachat, Thai Sang Thai, Seri Ruam Thai (Thai Liberal), Fair, Plung Sungkom Mai (New Force) and Pheu Thai Rumphlang.

Pita Limjaroenrat’s surprising and impressive victory reveals that voters have rejected almost a decade of military-backed rule and expressed their hopes for a better future in Thailand. Previous attempts to form coalitions for change in the country have often faced difficulties and achieved limited success. However, if transparency is maintained and a strong coalition without internal conflicts is established, and as long as the military does not interfere in the democratic process, Pita is on the brink of making history and changing Thailand’s future for the better.

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