Court suspends Thailand's progressive leader | News

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Thailand's Constitutional Court has suspended parliamentarian Pita Limjaroenrat, who could face up to 10 years in prison and 20 years of political disqualification, as his congressional rivals successfully frustrated his election as prime minister.


Thai progressive leader loses prime ministerial vote

The court announced that Pita had been suspended as a lawmaker on an allegation that he violated election rules by holding shares in a media company, making his second case against him in six days.

The complaint, raised last week by the Electoral Commission, focuses on 42,000 titles of the iTV channel, which represent 0.0035% of the total shares of this chain closed in 2007, which the politician administered as part of the family trust after the death of his father in 2006.

Under Thai law, members of parliament are prohibited from owning shares in media companies.

Pita, leader of the Move Forward party, which prevailed in the May 14 elections, who was educated in the United States (USA), was emerging as prime minister after the surprise victory of his political party.

However, in a first vote last Thursday, the candidate failed to reach a simple majority in the bicameral vote, mainly due to the blockade of the Senate.

The suspension does not prevent Pita from running for prime minister, but it was not immediately clear if his eight-party alliance would seek to re-nominate him, submitting a different motion.

A joint session on Wednesday debated whether Pita could be nominated for a second time, and Speaker of the House Wan Muhamad Noor Matha put the issue to a vote.

A motion to deny him a second chance passed by a vote of 395 to 312 with eight abstentions. The Parliament meeting then adjourned with no immediate indication of when it would next vote on a new prime minister.

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