Thai Constitutional Court could ban election winner

Bangkok, Jul 12 (EFE).- Thailand’s Election Committee announced Wednesday it is sending a complaint to the Constitutional Court that could disqualify Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the party that won the May elections.

The decision comes a day before the bicameral parliament meets to vote on the prime ministerial election, in a session where Pita is, for the moment, the only candidate.

The electoral body said in a statement that there is “sufficient evidence” to believe Pita knowingly failed to comply with the conditions to register as a parliamentary candidate due to the possession of shares in a communication company, prohibited by electoral rules.

It also requests the court, which was scheduled to meet at noon, to consider issuing an immediate order by which Pita cannot occupy his seat until a decision is made.

The controversial complaint, on which the Constitutional Court must decide in an unspecified period, focuses on 42,000 titles of the iTV channel, closed in 2007, automatically inherited by the politician as part of a family trust after the death of his father in 2006.

If the court considers Pita violated the laws, the politician could face up to 10 years in prison and 20 years of political disqualification.

Thailand could therefore once again hold elections, interim Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said in early June.

Pita heads a coalition of eight parties, including his formation Move Forward, which makes 312 of the 500 deputies to the lower house, elected in the elections held on May 14.

However, this large majority in the lower house is not enough to be elected as the next prime minister since the 250 members of the senate also participate in the selection process, fully elected by the former military junta.

Move Forward, whose electoral program promotes a democratic reform in the country, does not have many sympathies among the senate, which could affect Pita’s chances.

Allegations against the leader of Move Forward are reminiscent of the case against Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the dissolved Future Forward party – Move Forward’s predecessor – disqualified in 2019 when running for election that year while holding shares in a communication company. EFE


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