The leader of one of Thailand’s largest opposition party made a bold move during Tuesday’s special parliamentary session and called for parliament to listen to pro-democracy protesters, amend the charter and help to reform the country’s monarchy system.
Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of move Forward Party, told parliament that it was time for the country to stop seeing the student-led protests as a threat to the nation and the crown.
Student-led pro-democracy protests have gripped the country for the past four months with demonstrators calling on the Prayut Chan-ocha government to resign, for the government to re-draft the military-backed charter and for the government to stop harassing dissidents.
Protesters have also touched on the need for reformation of Thailand’s once cherished monarchy which demonstrators say needs updating.
On Tuesday, Pita acknowledged those demands on the parliament floor.
“We must admit that the Thai society has changed and the old world that many people are trying to hold on to, used to, and yearn for, no longer exists anymore,” he said.
Pita proposed that the parliament create a safe space for the people to talk about the reformation of the monarchy to avoid further conflict within the society and that reforming the institution is not the same as abolishing the institution.
“Under the current system, the King can do no wrong. The institution’s power must be carefully regulated based on the constitution,” he said. “This is the way to protect the monarchy in the 21st century…if we continue to avoid change, the country will not be able to move forward.”
Pita also accused the government of using the monarchy as a shield to hide its own mismanagement and cling onto power. The opposition leader called on coalition partners to resign, to help redraft a new constitution and move towards election.