Sunday, 1 October 2023

We are shifting our daily news to Gutzy.Asia Support us there!

Thai PM frontrunner faces election probe

BANGKOK, THAILAND — The frontrunner to become Thailand’s next prime minister is facing an election probe that could see him disqualified, a senior official said Monday, in the latest setback to his bid for the premiership.

Pita Limjaroenrat’s progressive Move Forward Party (MFP) won the most seats at last month’s election as voters delivered a crushing rejection of army-linked parties that ran the kingdom for nearly a decade.

But he has faced a number of challenges and complaints, and the election commission has now set up a special committee to investigate whether Pita was qualified to run for office.

“There is sufficient information and evidence to warrant further investigation into whether Mr Pita is qualified to run in the election,” commission chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong told AFP.

“The election commission has set up an investigatory committee to investigate further.”

It is not clear how long the investigation will take, but if found guilty, Pita could be disqualified and face up to 10 years in jail.

The probe relates to Pita’s ownership of shares in a now-defunct media company — prohibited under Thai election law.

Pita says he inherited the shares in the ITV television station, which has not broadcast since 2007, from his father.

The 42-year-old denies any wrongdoing and the party says it is not worried about the allegations.

“MFP is still confident that people power will win in the end, and the election commission will work honestly based on constitutional principles,” MFP secretary general Chaitawat Tulathon said.

MFP’s predecessor party Future Forward was also hit with the media shareholding rule in 2019 when billionaire leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was disqualified as an MP by a court order.


The probe is the latest hurdle thrown in Pita’s path as he seeks to become Thai prime minister.

MFP’s determination to amend Thailand’s tough laws against insulting King Maha Vajiralongkorn has spooked the royalist-military conservative establishment.

Pita has agreed on an eight-party coalition which would command a large majority in the lower house.

But to secure the prime minister’s job Pita has to muster a majority across both houses — including the Senate, whose 250 members were handpicked by the last junta.

A number of senators have already said they will not vote for him as prime minister, though Pita and his party say they are confident of securing the job.

MFP and fellow opposition outfit Pheu Thai dominated the 14 May election, in which voters roundly rejected Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, a former army chief who came to power in a 2014 coup.

The election commission has until 13 July to ratify the poll results, after which parliament will convene with a vote on the new prime minister expected in early August.

There are fears that if Pita is blocked from becoming prime minister — whether by the senate or some court or administrative ruling — it could plunge the kingdom into crisis, with protesters likely to flood the streets.

The coalition has announced ambitious plans to rewrite the constitution — scripted by Prayut’s junta in 2017 — as well as ending military conscription and allowing same-sex marriage.

The would-be government has also pledged to tackle the monopolies and oligopolies that dominate some sectors of the Thai economy, notably in brewing and other alcohol production.

But the coalition has not stated its position on lese-majeste reform, though it was a major campaign pledge from MFP.


Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Latest posts

Election surprises and certainties: Dissecting Tharman’s presidential win

In the 2023 Presidential Election, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam secured a stunning 70.4% landslide victory, surprising many, including himself. Despite expectations that TKL would win the opposition votes, voters from both camps showed a preference for Tharman's charisma and perceived competency. As Singapore reflects on the outcome, questions arise about the election's fairness and the real implications of Tharman's dominant win.

Volunteer as a Polling and Counting Agent for Singapore’s 2023 Presidential Election

For the upcoming Singapore Presidential Election on 1st September, members of the civil society have spearheaded an initiative to strengthen our democratic fabric. We invite committed individuals to join us as Polling and Counting Agents, standing together for a transparent, fair, and just election. This vote counting exercise, organized by members of civil society, is not specifically in support of Mr Tan Kin Lian, a candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election. It's an exercise in active citizenry. Nonetheless, Mr Tan endorses this initiative, which hinges on his candidacy, championing transparency, and has given permission for the results to be shared publicly.

Reflections from the Centenary: The Legacy of LKY and Singapore’s Future

Gilbert Goh reflects on the LKY centenary event: an inspiring showcase of a leader's global legacy juxtaposed against current challenges, urging Singapore to continue its path of progress.

Lim Tean advocates for Tan Kin Lian: A visionary leader for Singapore’s Presidency

In his speech at Mr Tan Kin Lian's launch of his presidential bid, Mr Lim Tean passionately championed the need for a truly Independent President. Highlighting Mr Tan Kin Lian's unique credentials and genuine concern for the wellbeing of Singaporeans, the Peoples Voice leader emphasized the pressing challenges of rising living costs and job insecurities faced by the public. Mr Lim depicted Mr Tan Kin Lian as a beacon of hope for the nation, advocating for a leader who genuinely understands and represents the people’s aspirations.

Tan Jee Say endorses Tan Kin Lian for President: A courageous, genuine, and humble...

In advocating for a truly representative leader, Tan Jee Say underscored Tan Kin Lian's humility, courage, and genuine dedication. Highlighting the pressing need for restored public trust and effective independence, Tan Jee Say emphasized that Tan Kin Lian, as the 'People's President', would bring back hope to Singaporeans and champion true democracy

Tan Kin Lian’s pledge: Rekindling unity and charting a vigorous future for Singapore

In the press conference to announce his bid for the Singapore presidency, Tan Kin Lian emphasizes safeguarding Singapore's reserves and strengthening public service integrity. Drawing on his 30-year leadership at NTUC Income, he envisions a future with affordable living, accessible housing, and job stability, pledging collaboration with the government for a united nation.

Strengthening Singapore’s political foundations: A call to action by Leong Mun Wai on Singapore’s...

Leong Mun Wai urges Singaporeans to strengthen political checks and balances, emphasizing, 'The best is yet to be for Singapore if we dare to make the right decision in upcoming elections.

Trending posts