As legal proceedings hang in the balance, the leadership mantle of the Move Forward Party (MFP) has been temporarily passed on to 45-year-old Chaithawat Tulathon. This development came about due to the resignation of former leader, Pita Limjaroenrat. The changeover is designed to smoothen the shift to a fresh opposition leader while Pita’s status as an MP is clouded due to an impending court verdict regarding his iTV media shareholding case.
Chaithawat, along with the executive board, was ushered into leadership after Pita relinquished the reins of the MFP earlier this month. Until a decision is reached in Pita’s case, the party’s rise as an opposition leader has been momentarily frozen. After his appointment, Chaithawat said, the switches in the headship are merely stop-gap measures. He sees himself merely as a stand-in for the 43-year-old ex-leader Pita, who is currently ensnared in his legal trouble.
Following a complaint lodgement, Pita was suspended. The issue impeding him revolved around his inherited shares from the now-defunct media company, iTV Plc, an act that goes against the constitution that bars politicians from media company share ownership. Pita’s argument lies in the claim that the 42,000 share inheritance from his late father, which he merely managed as the executor and later passed on to his kin.
In the event of Pita returning to his MP position, “the new executives and myself stand ready to vacate the role,” as stated by Chaithawat. A voting procedure put Chaithawat in the leading position with a commanding total of 330 votes of approval, against a trifling five against and three abstentions.
Following the reshuffle, Apichart Sirisunthorn replaced Chaithawat as party secretary-general while Pijarn Chaowapatthanawong, Natthawut Buaprathum, Police Major General Supisarn Pakdeenaruban, and Sirikanya Tansakul were appointed as deputy party leaders. Chaithawat also stated that Parit Wacharasindhu, a List MP, took on the role of a party spokesperson.
Chaithawat made it known that Pita would operate in an advisory role for the party, shaping the MFP’s policies outside parliamentary walls. “I will serve as the opposition leader during this intervening period” he affirmed. Despite being a stand-in, Pita voiced his faith in Chaithawat and the new party secretary-general, endearingly referring to them as ‘the real deal’ before a party meeting the previous day.
Born in Songkhla, Chaithawat holds an environmental engineering degree from the renowned Chulalongkorn University, as reported by Bangkok Post. Keep abreast with the latest from The Thaiger on our newly launched Facebook page, available at your one-click convenience HERE.