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Democracy Showdown: Unstoppable Rally to Rock Thai Parliament – Can the People’s Voice Prevail?

A rally has been scheduled for May 23rd in front of the Parliament building in Bangkok’s Kiak Kai area, with the goal of urging the 250 members of the Senate to support the people’s desire for the Move Forward Party to form a government led by Pita Limjaroenrat as Prime Minister. The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) announced the rally plans on their Facebook page this past Sunday.

The UFTD believes that elections are a vital instrument to showcase the will and needs of the people. They argue that when citizens have voiced their desire for change, the democratic system should adapt accordingly. However, the 2017 constitution allows the 250 unelected senators to vote in the election of the Prime Minister. The UFTD stated in a Facebook post, “No matter how much this election has demonstrated the people’s true intention, some senators have shown disagreement with the democratic principle.”

With this in mind, the UFTD is calling on “genuine holders of sovereign power” to join the rally in front of the Parliament in Kiak Kai on May 23rd from 5 pm, to demand that the senators uphold the wishes of the people. In their statement, the UFTD emphasized, “The people’s victory must not be ruined by the senators.”

In a related event, a group of individuals seeking to protect the monarchy assembled in front of the Chao Phrom market in Muang district, Ayutthaya province, on Sunday morning. Led by a woman named Kalayani Juprang, or “Auntie Ayutthaya,” they carried banners denouncing any effort to amend or abolish Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which pertains to the lese majeste law. The group marched along Naresuan road surrounding the market.

However, some residents of the Chao Phrom market area expressed their opposition to the group’s activities, resulting in verbal disputes between both parties. It became necessary for plain-clothed and uniformed police officers to step in and prevent any physical altercations.

Ms. Kalayani called upon citizens in Ayutthaya and nearby provinces to unite in defense of the monarchy, arguing that the Move Forward Party’s intention to amend Section 112 posed a threat. While she conceded that the Move Forward Party had the legitimacy to lead a coalition government, she maintained that their policy to potentially abolish Section 112 was beyond the pale. After approximately 40 minutes, Ms. Kalayani and her group dispersed.

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