Although he won the last elections: the military junta ruling the country prevented voting in Parliament
The Thai parliament has blocked a second vote to elect Pita Limjaroonrat as prime minister, the Thai opposition leader who won the election in May: in Thailand, after the election, the prime minister must be voted on by the lower and upper houses in joint session. The first parliamentary vote took place on July 13 and Peta’s candidacy (as both Thais and the media call it) was rejected. A second vote was scheduled for the day that didn’t even take place: of the 715 members present, 394 voted against his second nomination, while 312 expressed their support.
PETA has the support of a clear majority in the lower house but very few senators, because the current Thai constitution states that the upper house is de facto appointed by the military junta that rules the country. And in the July 13 vote, the vote of the senators was decisive in preventing Pete from becoming prime minister.
In the May elections, the PETA party, Cao Clay, reformist and opposition to the ruling junta, won the most votes with 38 percent of the vote: however, there were many doubts about whether the junta would allow PETA to become head of government. Kao Klai’s electoral platform was based on the need for political and economic reforms to reduce the gross inequalities that existed in Thailand. He aimed to reform the strict laws that prevent 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 program and the least acceptable to the military junta.
Thailand’s Constitutional Court temporarily suspended Peta’s membership in parliament on Wednesday morning, just hours after the second parliamentary vote on his nomination as prime minister. The suspension came because he was accused of owning shares in a television network, which violates electoral regulations: So far, Beta has defended itself 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.
Despite the suspension, in theory Peta could still be chosen as head of government, given that Thailand’s prime minister may not be a member of parliament, but had to leave the chamber where he was elected in the last election. The court has not yet decided whether to annul the suspension or remove Pete from the polling station if he is found guilty.
– Also read: Will Thailand lead a reformer?
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