Pita in the balance, the Electoral Commission takes its time

Initially it seemed certain that the Constitutional Court would be recommended to bar the move forward party leader from running for prime minister because he owns certain shares. But the institutional body has considered it again. Tomorrow there will be parliamentary consultations to name the new prime minister. Meanwhile, former general and prime minister Prayut is retiring from political life.

Bangkok () – The Thai Electoral Commission, which this morning seemed to want to recommend to the Constitutional Court that it disqualify the possible future Prime Minister Pita Limjaroenrat, has announced that it has not really made a decision yet. Pita, 42, is the leader of Move Forward, the main party in the coalition that defeated conservative and pro-military political formations at the polls on May 14.

The Commission explained that today it will review again its report on Pita’s eligibility for political office, after examining the documentation on the alleged violation of the electoral law that prevents candidates from having any participation in the media. Some claim that the leader of the Progressive Party owned shares in the iTV television network at the time of the election campaign. It would be, however, actions that were part of the estate of his father, who died in 2006.

It is not certain that his eventual disqualification will automatically end his candidacy for prime minister, but it could trigger a series of problems: from the extension of the candidacy for prime minister to internal differences in the winning coalition for a certain candidate, to new coalitions majority or, in the extreme case, to direct intervention by the armed forces if, as in the past, they felt “obliged” to restore “law and order” in the event of large street protests against the actions of the Electoral Commission and constitutional judges.

In addition, the moment of the decision of the members of the commission may not be accidental, the same day that the Court meets in its only weekly session (with a probable postponement of the decision until next Wednesday) and the eve of the debate and a vote on the new prime minister, which will take place in Parliament in joint session tomorrow from 5:00 p.m. (local time).

In the complex and changing landscape of Thai politics, the commission members’ move had been somewhat anticipated by the majority: the two main parties, Move Forward and Pheu Thai, had agreed that they would give Pita a second chance. to be elected on July 19 in case he does not get the vote of confidence tomorrow. To achieve it, at least 376 parliamentary votes are needed out of a total of 500. Taking into account that at least 312 would have to come from the ruling coalition, 64 would have to come from the 250 senators, who were not elected this year as the deputies, Rather, they had been appointed during the last round of elections by the leadership of the armed forces and former Prime Minister and General Prayut Chan-ocha.

Yesterday, Prayut announced that he was withdrawing from political life after imposing martial law in Bangkok and suppressing the Red Shirt movement in 2010, leading the May 2014 coup and the junta that ruled the country until 2019 and after. take off his uniform and become the prime minister of a government representative of the military leadership and of nationalist and monarchist groups.

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Written by Editor TLN

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