Bangkok, March 9 (IANS) Lawmakers of the opposition Future Forward Party, dissolved last month in a controversial court decision, announced that they would continue their “pro-democracy struggle” under a new formation called ‘Kao Klai’ (Move Forward).
Speaking to the media here on Sunday, the leaders pledged to take forward the policies of the former party, which had been one of the biggest critics of the pro-military government formed last year, reports Efe news.
Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the new party, said the Move Forward would share the policies of the now-dissolved political outfit but would take a different route.
“(It) will be definitely shared ideologies because we were part of developing those policies and ideologies, and there is a reason why we joined the party and that is why we remain here,” he said, adding that there would be “definitely different paths and different mechanisms, obviously”.
After the dissolution of the Future Forward Party by the Constitutional Court, the deputies had a period of 60 days to establish a new formation that will need to be ratified by the Election Commission.
Future Forward Party, formed in 2018, surprised many by becoming the third-biggest force in Parliament after the March 2019 elections, despite facing restrictions during the campaign and challenging the coalition allied with the military junta that had ruled the country since 2014.
The party secured more than six million votes and 80 seats in the lower house with an agenda based on reducing the powers of the military, decentralizing the state and promoting the rights of ethnic minorities.
However, the party and its leader, millionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, faced repeated complaints about their activism and criticism of the military junta.
While dissolving the party on February 21, the Constitutional Court also revoked the voting and political rights of its executive council, including Thanathorn, for 10 years.
The ruling legally ended the party’s 16-month existence and reduced its strength in Parliament to 55, downgrading it to the fourth biggest party.
The government formed after last year’s elections is dominated by members of the former military junta and its leader, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, who has been in power since a coup in 2014.
Thai politics has been dominated by the military and elites close to the royals for most of its modern history, having witnessed 13 coups since absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932.
In recent years, political divisions have revolved around the supporters and opponents of two military coups in 2006 and 2014, with the country being rocked by repeated street protests that resulted in dozens of deaths.