Constitutional Court suspends Pita from his parliamentary duties

The Constitutional Court has issued an order to suspend the Move Forward Party leader and the only PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat from his parliamentary duties as an elected member of the House of Representatives because of a petition regarding ownership of iTV shares.

The statement from the Constitutional Court

On 19 July 2023, while the second PM bid was ongoing in the parliament, the Constitution Court released an official announcement to suspend Pita Limjaroenrat from his parliamentary duties due to his ownership of shares in iTV, a media company, in violation of electoral rules. The effective date of the suspension is from 19 July 2023 until the Court passes judgement.

The Constitutional Court unanimously decided on Pita's suspension by seven votes to two.

But the suspension does not affect his nomination for prime minister, which was in progress on the same day.

Before leaving the parliament, Pita said during the parliamentary session that he has acknowledged the court’s order and will abide by it until the court judgement is released.

“I would like to take this opportunity to say goodbye until we meet again,” Pita told the parliament.

After Pita's suspension was announced while it deliberates whether to disqualify him over iTV shares, protesters gathered at the gates to parliament to express their resentment.

Meanwhile, crowd control police were seen lining up inside the closed gates.

Regarding the disputed ownership of media shares, the Election Commission(EC) submitted a petition under Section 82 of the Constitution, asking the Constitutional Court to decide on Pita's alleged ownership of 42,000 iTV shares despite the proven evidence suggesting that iTV ceased functioning as a media company a long time ago.

Pita has argued that he received the shares as the executor of an inheritance from his father. And he had transferred the shares to his relatives a month ago.

The case filed by the EC reached the Constitutional Court on 13 July 2023, which was the day of the first PM vote.

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