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Thai royalists launch political party to protect monarchy

Thai royalists launch political party to protect monarchy

An ultra-realistic group in Thailand launched a new political party on Wednesday to defend King Maha Vajiralongkorn, amid unprecedented calls for monarchy reform by a youth-led protest movement.

The "Thai Pakdee" (Loyal Thai) party is an offshoot of a royalist group of the same name formed last August to counter street demonstrations with rallies in support of the king.

Political veteran Warong Dechgitvigrom will lead the new party, which he said will fight political groups whose real intention was to overthrow the monarchy.

"Before we defend ... today we declare war, we will fight to protect the monarchy," Warong told a news conference.

The leaders of the protest movement have rejected accusations that their goal is to overthrow the monarchy and have repeatedly said they want the institution to be more compatible with democracy.

Warong said the prominent opposition party, Move Forward, and its associated group Progressive Movement would be his party's political rivals, as well as youth-led groups he called "the three-finger mafia," referring to the salute of "The Hunger Games". they use in his campaign.

In a statement, Warong said that his party did not have the support of any particular group or company and that it would belong to the people.

He did not name any other members, but said the electoral commission had been notified of its formation and that executives would be selected soon.

The progressive politician Piyabutr Saengkanokkul warned, however, that the new party ran the risk of associating the monarchy with domestic politics.

"The formation of a party that defends the protection of the monarchy, either with good intentions or to destroy others, could only bring the monarchy into the political sphere," Piyabutr said on his official Twitter account.

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