(CTN News) – In a significant development, Thailand’s constitutional court has suspended Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the country’s most popular and progressive party, Move Forward, from parliament.
The suspension comes following the acceptance of a case alleging his disqualification from running in the May election. Pita was due to participate in a parliamentary vote for the position of prime minister when the announcement was made, leading him to walk out.
The case against the Move Forward leader revolves around the claim that he was ineligible to run in the election due to his ownership of media shares, an allegation that Pita vehemently denies.
The constitutional court has granted him 15 days to respond to the allegations before making a final ruling. The temporary suspension poses a challenge to Pita’s aspirations and adds to the difficulties faced by his party, Move Forward.
Move Forward emerged as the party with the most seats and votes in the recent election, championing progressive reforms that challenge powerful interests, advocating for removing the military from politics, and seeking amendments to the strict Lese Majesty law protecting the monarchy.
However, the party faces various hurdles, including legal troubles and an electoral system that favors candidates aligned with the conservative military establishment.
To become prime minister, Pita must secure majority support from the elected members of the lower house of parliament and the appointed senators, who are aligned with the military.
Pita failed to gain sufficient backing in a previous attempt, with only a fraction of senators and MPs supporting him. Some opponents accused him of seeking to overthrow the royal family due to his stance on lese majesty law reform, a charge he vehemently denies.
Despite these challenges, Pita is scheduled to make another attempt on Wednesday to secure the necessary support from parliament. His plea to the senators emphasizes the need for a prime minister representing the majority and urges them to vote in alignment with principles and the people’s voice.
Should Pita’s bid for prime minister fail to garner adequate support, it is anticipated that another candidate, such as property tycoon Srettha Thavisin proposed by the Pheu Thai party, could be put forward.
The future alignment of Pheu Thai, currently part of Move Forward’s coalition bloc, remains uncertain, and there is a possibility of a breakdown in their coalition agreement.