Connect with us


‘Future Forward’ take their first steps



By Wasamon Audjarint

With a promise of inclusive democracy to resurrect politics from its “lost decade”, the young-blood Future Forward Party was launched yesterday.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, a scion of the Thai Summit business family, and law academic Piyabutr Saengkanokkul yesterday launched the party at a “Drinking Coffee with Thanathorn and Friends” event, ostensibly named to circumvent the junta’s ban on political gatherings of five or more people.

They also submitted their application for registration of the new party to the Election Commission after the introductory event. Thanathorn, Piyabutr and 24 others hailing from a cross-section of society co-founded the party with the aim of restoring faith in participatory democracy after Thailand has been bogged down in more than a decade of political crises and coups.

Promoting human rights as their key theme, they said they would not follow the patterns of old-fashioned politics with military people as key players and military-designed mechanisms. The party, after contesting in the next general election, will have to engage in the parliamentary process stipulated in the junta-written 2017 charter, which provides for a junta-handpicked Upper House and complex voting systems that will pose stiff challenges for contesting parties.

Thanathorn pledged that the party’s MPs would not take part in the “undemocratic” process of selecting an “outsider PM” with appointed senators.

Thanathorn and Piyabutr said they did not want to defy the junta’s political ban, but did not elaborate on their political plans for the upcoming election, now scheduled for February next year. The 39-year-old tycoon said he did not agree with the ban and called for it to be lifted to allow all parties to get started and reach out to people during the pre-election period.

Hyped in social media as a “new hope”, the party is made up mostly of members from progressive backgrounds. Thanathorn was once a student activist who joined protests with grassroots people before turning into the tech-savvy vice executive chairman of Thai Summit Group.

Piyabutr was well known as a member of the academic group Nitirat that has opposed Article 112 of the Criminal Code banning lese majeste, which the group believes has been misused with political motives. Piyabutr said his stance on Article 112 remained the same but it did not mean it would be co-opted in the agenda of Future Forward Party.

“Democracy is the key theme of our party. Any policy will have to be based on consensus,” he said.

Other members of the party include the former director of Amnesty Thailand, Chamnan Chanruang; education academic Kunthida Rungruengkiat; disabilities rights activist Nalatporn Krairerk; and print labour union president Surin Khamsuk. They said they were unable to announce their policies yet due to the junta’s ban, but added that the focus would be on the lost benefits of social minorities and disadvantaged people.

“I wish that people of all sexes, genders and ideologies can be viewed equally as humans,” said Nalatporn.

“Disabilities might have been seen as burden but I believe we can push for more beneficial policies through a party system.” Meanwhile, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said new parties like Thanathorn’s would force his own party to work harder in responding to the people’s needs. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, an exiled professor and prominent junta critic, described Thanathorn as “a breath of fresh air”.

'Future Forward' take their first steps | News by Thaiger


The two words that will cause problems for ‘Future Forward’ are ‘future’ and ‘forward’ – taking Thailand into its future as a citizen of the world and being ‘forward’ thinking are not ideologies that fit well with the old guard, Bangkok’s elite or the military. Whilst we haven’t seen all the Future Forward polices mapped out as yet, due to the ban on political meetings, we did get to meet many of Future Forward’s team ‘over coffee’ yesterday (must have been a very busy barista).

Apart from the 39 year old car-parts billionaire pin-up boy there’s a lot of forward-thinking academics lining up behind Thanathorn to give his fledgling party depth and width. Law students, professional protestors, legal advisors, journalist-specialising-in-disability-issues, an expert in Finland’s education system, a LGBT activists – no doubt worthy, interested, motivated people but perhaps a bit green going up against seasoned politicians. Or the Thai military machine which represents Thailand’s ‘old ways’ and all the things Future Forward want to change.

It’s going to be an interesting run up to next February’s election.

Tim Newton, Phuket Gazette



Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

The Thaiger is Thailand's largest online portal for news, videos and information.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand8 hours ago

Woman goes bananas after children steal her fruit and sues them for 24,000 baht

China8 hours ago

China says Covid has weakened as it announces loosening of strict policies

Thailand8 hours ago

Dog carries baby’s corpse out of a forest in eastern Thailand

Sponsored1 day ago

Top 5 Backlink Agencies in Bangkok for Your Business

Events9 hours ago

Travis Scott to headline Rolling Loud Thailand festival

Thailand9 hours ago

9 year old boy rescued after falling into 2-metre deep well

Thailand9 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Sexy Thai model exposed as an identity thief and transwoman

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
South9 hours ago

Whale washes up on beach in South Thailand

Transport10 hours ago

Last jumbo – the last Boeing 747 leaves the gate

Weather10 hours ago

Bangkok could hit lows of 18°C next week

Thailand10 hours ago

Geminids meteor shower predicted to hit Thailand on December 14 

Crime10 hours ago

Kuwaiti overstayer busted in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

Thailand10 hours ago

What next for Bali as Indonesia bans sex?

Thailand11 hours ago

Jailed politician erects billboard to wish voters Happy New Year

Thailand11 hours ago

Beastly reptile crocs the world of small village in southern Thailand

Pattaya11 hours ago

Pattaya officials continue to struggle with homeless problem

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11