Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Parliament suspended Peta Limgarwinrat, leader of the Thai opposition


This was decided by the Constitutional Court, a few hours before the vote to elect him as Prime Minister

Thailand’s Constitutional Court has temporarily suspended Peta Limjaroonrat, the leader of the reformist Kao Clay (Let’s Go Forward) party, from parliament just hours before a second vote is to be held on his candidacy for prime minister. Pita (both Thais and the media call him) may be chosen as prime minister (in Thailand, the prime minister may not be a member of parliament), even if he would have to physically leave the chamber and not be able to vote until the court gives its final opinion, that is, until the court decides whether to annul the suspension or remove the polling station from Pita, should he be convicted. He is accused of owning shares in a television network, which violates the electoral regulations: so far he has defended himself by saying that that network has not broadcasted since 2007, and that he inherited his shares from his father and then sold them to relatives.

The comment is significant because the Thai parliament is currently voting to elect a new prime minister, amid many doubts that the ruling junta will allow Peta to become head of government, despite his success in the May elections.

In fact, Kao Clay’s party, the PETA party, received the most votes with 38 percent of the vote. In second place was Pheu Thai, who scored 28 percent. Kao Clay, who stands up to the current ruling military junta, has a platform based on the need for political and economic reforms to reduce the gross inequalities that exist in Thailand. It also aims to reform the strict laws preventing criticism of the Thai monarchy, which provides for penalties of up to 15 years in prison: it is one of the most controversial points of the Kao Clay programme.

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The Prime Minister must be voted on by the House and Senate in joint session. The first parliamentary vote took place on 13 July and rejected Peta’s candidacy. Despite the clear majority in the council, he actually received very few votes from the senators, who are de facto appointed by the junta in accordance with the current constitution. Pita said that if he does not become prime minister, even in this vote he will accept the candidacy of another member of his coalition: it is possible that the second most voted party, Pheu Thai (centre-right), will decide to propose its own candidate for prime minister, mindful of the fact that deputies and senators close to the junta will be more inclined to vote for a party closer to the establishment. In this case, Pheu Thai might decide to withdraw from the alliance with Kao Klai, in which case Peta would likely become the leader of the opposition.

– Also read: Will Thailand lead a reformer?

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