Flash mob fiasco: MFP’s Pita disqualified as PM candidate

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

Move Forward Party (MFP)’s prime ministerial candidate, Pita Limjaroenrat has been barred from the premiership after receiving a suspended jail sentence for his involvement in a 2019 Bangkok flash mob protest, as confirmed by a renowned legal expert.

Jade Donavanik, a lecturer at the College of Asian Scholars, clarified that the recent four-month suspended sentence handed down by the Pathumwan District Court directly impacts Pita’s eligibility to assume the role of prime minister, citing Section 160(7) of the constitution.

This section explicitly states that a minister cannot hold office if they have been sentenced to imprisonment, regardless of the case’s finality or the suspension of the punishment, unless it falls under specific exceptions.

Jade, a former adviser to the constitution drafting committee, asserted that Pita’s disqualification is in effect despite the ongoing status of the flash mob case and the suspended sentence.

The ruling, delivered on Monday, implicated Pita and seven others, including former Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, in a suspended four-month jail term for their participation in the Pathumwan intersection flash mob protest on December 14, 2019. This protest, sparked by the Election Commission’s move to disband the Future Forward Party over a controversial loan, marked a significant demonstration post-2014 military coup, reported Bangkok Post.

Subsequently, the court dissolved the Future Forward Party and barred Thanathorn and other executives from political office.

In response, Pita announced plans to appeal the court’s decision regarding the flash mob incident.

In related news, Pita reclaimed his spot in Parliament on January 25, delivering a scathing critique of the government’s 500-billion-baht digital wallet scheme. Pita spared no words as he labelled the scheme a potential long-term burden for the country.

In other news, the Supreme Court delivered a harsh blow to three former Bhumjaithai MPs, slamming them with a 10-year ban from contesting elections. Chalong Thirdweerapong, Phumisak Kongmee, and Natee Ratchakitprakarn were all found guilty of a severe breach of parliamentary ethics.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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