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Revealed: Move Forward Party’s Shocking 100-Day Plan to Challenge Thai Military-Backed Elite!

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The Move Forward Party, currently gaining momentum in opinion polls leading up to the May 14 election, seeks to reverse the “lost decade” under military-backed governance through extensive reform proposals aimed at reinvigorating Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy. Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat, a 42-year-old Harvard Kennedy School of Government graduate, envisions spreading economic activity beyond Bangkok, dismantling business monopolies, and reducing the influence of the armed forces in politics.

“In terms of policies, we need to do three things: de-militarise, de-monopolise, and decentralise,” said Mr. Pita in a Bloomberg TV interview, citing these objectives as his 100-day plan priority. The stakes are high in the upcoming election, as it will likely be a contested race between the current pro-establishment, military-backed coalition and pro-democracy opposition parties such as Move Forward and Pheu Thai. A key issue in the election is the revitalization of the economy, which experienced the slowest growth in the region last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on tourism and manufacturing.

Emphasizing the significance of the election, Mr. Pita explains, “The stake is the 1% versus the 99%. If the incumbent wins, that 1% will keep prospering, and inequality will grow. If the 99% wins, that means Thailand will change for good. We’re fighting for that 99%, going against the 1% that is the elite, the military, the money.” Aiming to “finally democratize” Thailand after years of military rule, the Move Forward leader vows to eliminate outdated regulations that hinder business and implement progressive measures to reclaim the “lost decade” under military governance.

Among Mr. Pita’s first 100-day agenda items is initiating a process to revise the charter drafted in the aftermath of the May 2014 coup led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, former commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army. This would pave the way for reforms such as breaking the monopoly of several liquor companies, passing a marriage equality bill, ending compulsory military conscription, and reducing the size of the army, which would free up defense budget funds and prevent coup cycles.

Established in 2020 after its predecessor, Future Forward, was disbanded, the Move Forward Party carries on the progressive ideology and drive to change the post-coup constitution. Mr. Pita is optimistic that his party can secure over 100 seats in the 500-member House of Representatives, up from about 80 in 2019, and challenge Gen Prayut in a crowded race led by Pheu Thai’s Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the youngest daughter of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose administration was overthrown in a 2006 coup.

A recent survey by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) indicated the party could win approximately 21% of the vote, a 4-point increase from a month earlier. While recent Nida surveys showed Mr. Pita’s popularity rising over the last few months, another survey by Thai language newspapers Matichon and Daily News this week ranked him above Ms. Paetongtarn.

However, improving their election performance alone will not propel Move Forward into power, as rules favoring pro-democracy parties give a military-appointed 250-member Senate the authority to form the government. To obtain power, Mr. Pita’s party would need to collaborate with Pheu Thai, which is expected to win the most seats. Still, given the party’s history of exposing corruption and challenging the status quo, the threat of dissolution is always present. Nonetheless, Mr. Pita cautioned that such an action would have serious consequences, such as triggering a youth-led protest similar to a “wildfire.”

“We’ve learned our lessons and are prepared legally,” said Mr. Pita. “People, particularly the younger generations, are fed up. We cannot tolerate this kind of thing anymore.”

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