Former MFP opposition leader Pita’s fate hangs on Constitutional Court verdict

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

All eyes will be fixed on today’s Constitutional Court ruling, a potential game-changer in the media shareholding scandal involving Pita Limjaroenrat, the former leader of the opposition Move Forward Party (MFP).

The court’s decision could determine his political destiny, with the looming threat of losing his MP status. Legal expert Komsan Phokong weighed in on the pivotal case, hinting at the stakes involved.

“If the court rules against Mr Pita, he could lose his MP status, creating a seismic shift in the political landscape.”

The court’s decision could pave the way for Pita’s reinstatement as an MP and open the door for him to be nominated as a prime ministerial candidate once more, provided the ruling favours him. However, given the court’s history with similar cases, including the disqualification of Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, former leader of the now-dissolved Future Forward Party (FFP), signs point to an uphill battle for the 43 year old.

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Komsan expressed his scepticism, citing the court’s previous rulings on shareholding cases.

“If history is any indication, the court may lean towards ruling against Mr Pita, following a pattern set in cases like Thanathorn’s.”

The potential fallout from the ruling goes beyond Pita’s fate. Komsan suggested that a negative verdict could lead to the dissolution of the MFP, citing the party’s internal regulations prohibiting members from holding media shares.

“This could mean the MFP was led by someone unqualified from the start, potentially leading to the party’s disbandment and a ten-year ban on its executives.”

The MFP, however, remains defiant, releasing a video clip asserting Pita’s innocence and predicting his victorious return to parliamentary duties. The party alleges a conspiracy to thwart Pita’s political aspirations and highlights opinion polls indicating widespread popularity for both Pita and the MFP, reported Bangkok Post.

Shares controversy

The controversy revolves around Pita’s alleged ownership of 42,000 shares in iTV, a media company, during his candidacy for the May 14 General Election. The Electoral Commission brought the case to the Constitutional Court, potentially triggering severe consequences under Section 151 of the Election Act.

Despite Pita’s claims of managing inherited shares and iTV’s alleged defunct status since 2007, the legal battle intensifies. The court has suspended Pita as an MP pending the verdict, leaving the former opposition leader’s political future hanging in the balance.

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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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