By Laurence Humphries, RCIT Britain, 13 October 2023, www.thecommunists.net
On the 22nd August 2023 Srettha Thavisin from the Pheu Thai party became the Prime Minister of Thailand with 482 votes from House of Representatives and 150 votes from the army appointed senate ensuring his victory. The previous nominee from the Move Forward Party, Pita LImjaronrat, failed to get enough votes to rule as Prime Minister although his party, a bourgeois-democratic populist party, had won the election outright with their allies Pheu Thai party coming in a close second.
“Sretthta Thavisin of the populist Pheu Thai party has won the backing of parliament to become Thailand’s next prime minister, paving the way to a new coalition government and an end to weeks of uncertainty and political impasse. Property tycoon Srettha’s victory, with 482 votes from the 727 politicians present on Tuesday, ends months of suspense, legal wrangling and horse-trading that followed the May elections” 
Pita Limajaronat had been chosen as the party’s nominee for Prime Minister but could not garnish enough votes from the military-appointed Senate. He was blocked because of his party’s manifesto pledge to curtail the power of the King and the monarchy. This was unacceptable to the army and pro-military regime so they blocked his vote. He was eventually suspended from Parliament and after a second vote he was prevented from standing again as Prime Minister.
“The progressive Move Forward Party, which won the most seats in Thailand’s general election, has been excluded from a coalition that hopes to form the next government, according to its former ally, the Pheu Thai Party. Conservative lawmakers strongly oppose Move Forward over its proposed reform of a law banning criticism of the country’s monarchy The Move Forward Party, the surprise winner, pulled together an eight-party coalition with 312 seats in the 500-member House of Representatives. However, under the military-enacted constitution, confirming a new prime minister requires a majority vote in both the elected House and the 250-member Senate, which was appointed by a previous military government.
An initial bid last month by Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat fell short by more than 50 votes, largely because only 13 senators backed him. His second attempt the following week was blocked by a procedural vote in the National Assembly, which said he could not be nominated again. Parliament plans to convene on Friday for its third attempt to select a successor to Prayuth Chan-ocha who as army commander seized power in a 2014 coup and was returned as prime minister after a 2019 election. However, a pending court decision could delay the vote again. The Constitutional Court is to meet on Thursday to decide whether to accept a petition from the state ombudsman seeking a ruling on whether Parliament’s rejection of Pita’s renomination was unconstitutional. If accepted, the court could order the third vote to be postponed until it issues a ruling. After its two failed attempts Move Forward handed over the lead in forming a new government to the populist Pheu Thai, the second biggest party in its coalition.” 
Pheu Thai: A party of opportunism
The Pheu Thai party, which saw its founder Thaksin Shinawatra return from exile, has ditched its support for basic democratic demands which would curtail the power and influence of the King. At the moment, any criticism of King Maha Vajiralongkorn will land you in jail. The Pheu Thai party a bourgeois party which ruled in Thailand in 2006 and 2011 before it was overthrown in two coups. The Pheu Thai party under Thaksin Shinawatra’s leadership instituted several reformist demands like subsidies to poor peasants.
It has now done a 360-degree turn and allied itself with the very forces that overthrew its governments. This has caused a crisis in the Pheu Thai party and the leader of the party, Dr Cholnan Srikaew, has resigned because of its alliance with the Palang Pracharath party. This may cause a split in the party’s ranks since such alliance make Pheu Thai a prisoner of the regime and the army command.
The general election on the 14th May, which promised to be an open democratic contest, has now been proven to be a fraud since the very party that won the election has been prevented from taking power because of Thailand’s constitutional arrangements. It was obvious that the Bonapartist military bureaucracy was never going to allow Move Forward to take power.
Since the Pheu Thai party has taken power, it has started making overtures to China particularly offering many Chinese visitors to come on free visas. Formerly Thailand, one of the strongest economies in South-East Asia before the pandemic and a close ally of western Imperialism, is now seeking help from China to fill the pockets of many capitalists and their projects of exploitation for the masses.
As the RCIT has remarked previously it was an illusion by the Move Forward party to think that they could change the power of the King and institute basic democratic demands. The military regime was not going to allow that to happen.
“[T]he populist Move Forward party assumed that if they just won an election they could take power, form a government, and proceed to make reforms that they had campaigned for. The hoped to build a more democratic system of government, to reduce the power of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, to amend the constitution and to prevent the Senate from deciding on future governments. This is very unlikely to happen in this period of political uncertainty. The state and its army will prevent this at all costs.“ 
For a workers and poor peasants government!
The betrayal of the Pheu Thai leadership and the failure of the Move Forward party demonstrates the necessity to build a new, revolutionary leadership. Such a leadership – a new revolutionary party – has to be bult on the basis of program for struggle. The RCIT calls on all progressive militants in Thailand to join forces in the revolutionary struggle for socialism through the seizure of power and the overthrow of both the monarchy and the capitalist Pheu Thai government and to replace these by a workers and peasants government.
* For strikes up to an indefinite general strike organised through action committees and councils of action elected and run by workers, groups of activists and representatives of the urban poor and poor peasantry to fight for democratic rights and the abolishment of all Bonapartist and monarchical rule.
* For a sovereign, revolutionary constituent assembly under the control of the organized popular masses! In such a revolutionary constituent assembly, working-class activists should put forward socialist proposals and argue in favour of a workers and poor-peasant government based on councils of the workers, the rural and urban poor!
* For armed defence guards of the workers and the oppressed masses to protect themselves from provocations and attacks from the police, the military and right-wing forces!
* End imperialist exploitation! Expropriate the multi-national corporations and put them under workers’ control! Abolish all debts without compensation! Summarize all banks into one state bank under control of the workers!
* Only an armed insurrection led by the working class and poor peasantry can end the Pheu Thai capitalist government and imperialist exploitation with a minimum number of lost lives! Only a revolutionary workers and poor peasant government can open the road towards a future of freedom, equality and peace, a future of socialism!
* To fulfil all of these goals, the vanguard of workers and poor peasants in Thailand needs to build a revolutionary workers party. No bourgeois party, not even the most populist ones, could really lead the struggle for true democracy! In every struggle, revolutionaries defend democratic rights and activists fighting for those rights without an ounce of support for bourgeois politics, politicians and parties!