Thai court rejects Move Forward petition over derailed prime minister bid

Decision all but kills off any hope of the election-winning party leading the next government in Thailand.

Supporters of the Move Forward Party hold a portrait of Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of Move Forward Party, during a protest in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, July 29, 2023.
Supporters of the Move Forward Party hold a portrait of Pita Limjaroenrat during a protest in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 29, 2023 [File: Sakchai Lalit/AP Photo]

Thailand’s Constitutional Court has thrown out a petition challenging the parliament’s refusal to allow the election-winning party a second shot at forming a government.

The move on Wednesday all but kills off any hope of the progressive Move Forward party leading Thailand’s next government, with parliament slated to hold a vote on another candidate for prime minister next week.

Move Forward, led by Pita Limjaroenrat, won the most seats in a general election on May 14, riding a wave of support from young and urban Thais to end nearly a decade of military-backed rule.

But an initial bid by the 42-year-old politician to become Thailand’s next prime minister was rejected on July 13 by legislators allied with the royalist military.

His second attempt a week later was blocked by a procedural vote in parliament, which said his name could not be nominated again.

The case thrown out on Wednesday centred on the constitutionality of parliament refusing Pita a second vote.

In its decision, the court said it declined to accept the case because it was lodged by a group of more than 20 individuals that did not include the prime ministerial candidate himself.

“Their rights were not violated and they did not have the rights to file the complaint,” it said of the petitioners.

On Wednesday afternoon, House speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha announced the next vote for prime minister would take place on August 22.

“Whether the choosing of the prime minister will be completed on the day is up to the session,” the speaker said.

To become prime minister, a candidate must be approved by a majority of both chambers of parliament – the 500 elected legislators of the House of Representatives and the 250 members of the Senate, who were appointed under military rule.

The Pheu Thai party, which came second in the election, is lobbying aggressively for support for its candidate, real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin.

Pheu Thai says it is confident Srettha will win enough votes.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies