On Wednesday, August 16th, the Constitutional Court of Thailand voted unanimously to drop the petition from the election-winning Move Forward Party to review a parliamentary decision that blocked its leader Pita Limjaroenrat from being re-nominated as a PM.
The court stated that it had to dismiss the petition because the petition had been filed by a group of more than 20 people that did not include the prime ministerial candidate Pita himself.
The court explained, “Each complainant is not an individual whose rights have been directly violated. Therefore, they do not have the right to file a complaint.”
The petition had been filed by the ombudsman, who had received a complaint from allies of the Move Forward Party after its leader was rejected by 394 lawmakers from running for a prime ministerial office for the second time in Parliament.
With the court now having reached its verdict, the Parliament will convene on August 22nd to vote for a new prime minister, with property tycoon Srettha Thavisin from the Pheu Thai Party as the main candidate.
House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha announced the decision today, and he added that the parliamentary legal team would convene tomorrow to discuss the Constitutional Court’s decision.
This move by the court potentially dashes any hope for the Move Forward Party to lead the next government. However, it also opens the path for the second-place Pheu Thai Party to lead the nation through its new coalition.
Meanwhile, as announced yesterday, the Move Forward Party declared that it would not vote for the Pheu Thai PM candidate, according to party secretary-general Chaitawat Tulathon.
Chaitawat explained that the party’s MPs perceived the formation of the new government led by Pheu Thai, in conjunction with former government parties like Bhumjaithai, as a significant departure from the people’s mandate given during the May 14th election.
Furthermore, Chaitawat elaborated that the intent behind this government formation is not to eliminate the authority of the senate to pick a PM, but rather, it aligns with the desires of senate and junta-backed parties to prevent the Move Forward Party from assuming power.
The progressive Move Forward Party emerged victorious in the May 14th election, securing 151 seats in Parliament, while the runner-up Pheu Thai Party obtained 141 seats. However, the party encountered multiple obstacles due to its policies, especially around amending Lese Majeste laws, which had the potential to disrupt business monopolies and challenge the military’s political power.
Additionally, the party’s commitment to amending the royal defamation law (Section 112) came under harsh scrutiny despite the party having pledged multiple times to revise the law to prevent its sole political exploitation only.
Legal cases around the proposals for lese majeste are also in progress involving the Move Forward Party and are still ongoing with a recent thirty day extension approved. These cases could potentially even see major punitive action against the party if the court rules against them.