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The winner of Thailand’s general election was suspended from parliament hours before the expected vote on whether to become prime minister.
In a dramatically timed ruling, Thailand’s Constitutional Court has accepted a lawsuit involving shares allegedly owned by Pita Rimjaroonrat in a TV station, giving him 15 days to rule. I was given a suspension.
This is between Pita and his Progressive Party, the clear winners of the May general election, and the conservative establishment of generals, oligarchy and royal officials determined to remove him from power. , the increasingly tense confrontation marks the latest.
Pita urged his colleagues to “take care of the people” before pretending to leave his parliamentary card behind and walking out of the chamber to applause from his party.
Today’s vote will be a moment of truth for the 42-year-old ex-businessman after unelected senators blocked his first candidacy for prime minister last week. If he loses today, Congress could move to consider rival candidates, while his supporters threaten to take to the streets to protest.
Considered a social democratic or center-left force in Thai politics, Move Forward won 151 of 500 seats in the May general election. His ally Pheu Thai Party won a further 141 seats.
But since the vote to become prime minister is jointly held with 250 senators appointed by the former military government, it would take 376 votes for a candidate to win. Almost all senators either voted against him or abstained last week, leaving him well short of the winning line.
This lawsuit points to a further strategy to thwart Move Forward. That means he will not be able to vote for his own candidacy, even if Congress allows a second vote on his nomination.
“With the current system, it’s clear that winning the trust of the people is not enough to run the country,” Mr. Pita said. “I’ll have to ask the Senate first. And maybe even that won’t be enough to get my name nominated a second time.”
In a statement, the Constitutional Court cited facts before “showing reasonable doubt” that Pita was disqualified from parliament because he owned shares in a media business.
The case is linked to allegations that Pita owns 42,000 shares in iTV, a dormant TV station.
His defenders say his stake is 0.000035 percent of the company, that iTV has not broadcast since 2007, and that his stake was raised before Pita was an MP. points out that it never happened.
Pita said she inherited the shares, had no economic value, and now passed them on to relatives.
If Pita is disqualified or rejected, one of the coalition’s options is to propose a prime minister from the Pheu Thai Party, but analysts say the establishment could block the formation of a government, including Move Forward. said there is.