Interim leader steps in for embattled MFP amidst legal tension

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

Pending a legal verdict, 45 year old Chaithawat Tulathon assumes the role of interim leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP) after his predecessor stepped down. Chaithawat was elected alongside the board of executives, taking over from Pita Limjaroenrat, who resigned from the MFP leadership earlier this month to facilitate the transition to a new opposition leader.

Pita’s position as an MP is currently in limbo due to an impending court decision related to his iTV media share-holding case. As a result, the MFP’s ascension to the opposition leadership is on hold.

Today’s changes in leadership are temporary, stated Chaithawat after securing his leadership role. He further identified himself as a provisional leader stepping in for the 43 year old Pita as he grapples with his legal predicament.

Upon review of a complaint, the court suspended Pita, who held inherited shares in the now-dissolved media company, iTV Plc. The constitution prohibits politicians from owning shares in media companies. Pita’s defence is that the 42,000 shares were part of his late father’s estate, which he managed as the executor, and he later transferred the title to his relatives.

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If and when Pita makes a return as an MP, the new executives and I are ready to step down, Chaithawat said.

Following a voting process, Chaithawat was declared leader with a total of 330 votes in favour, with five against and three abstaining. Apichart Sirisunthorn succeeds Chaithawat as party secretary-general.

The meeting also named Pijarn Chaowapatthanawong, Natthawut Buaprathum, Police Major General Supisarn Pakdeenaruban, and Sirikanya Tansakul as deputy party leaders. List MP Parit Wacharasindhu was appointed as a party spokesperson.

Chaithawat announced that Pita would serve as an advisory chairman to the party, leading the MFP’s policies from outside parliament. In the meantime, I will fulfil my duty as the opposition leader during this temporary arrangement, he stated.

Despite the temporary arrangement, Pita expressed confidence in his successor and the new party secretary-general, referring to them as the real deal. He made this statement before the party’s meeting yesterday.

Chaithawat, a native of Songkhla, holds a degree in environmental engineering from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Post reported.

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Atima Homtientong

Atima is a dedicated news writer living in Bangkok. With a degree from Mahidol University, she focuses on reporting key issues and happenings around the country. In her off time, Atima enjoys writing and producing music.

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