Progressive Movement’s Piyabutr Saengkanokkul supports MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat amid election eligibility controversy

Photo Courtesy Bangkok Post

Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, an influential figure in Thailand’s Progressive Movement and a key helper for the Move Forward Party’s election campaign, encouraged the party’s supporters on Thursday to stand firm against attempts to discredit Pita Limjaroenrat, the 42-year-old leader and sole prime ministerial candidate for the MFP. He also urged them to fight against efforts to prevent the party from achieving victory in the upcoming election.

Saengkanokkul’s statement refers to petitions submitted to the Election Commission (EC), which allege that Limjaroenrat is ineligible for the election due to his ownership of shares in a media company.

In a Facebook post, Saengkanokkul rallied supporters to gather over 10 million votes for the MFP and secure the most parliamentary seats in the upcoming election, which would enable them to form a new government.

“We now need to think big and dream big, not just be a middle-sized party in a coalition government,” he said. “We will have to obtain the highest number of seats and lead the new government.”

Saengkanokkul added that the petitions submitted against Limjaroenrat were an attempt to destroy the MFP through a “legal war”.

National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol insisted on Thursday that Limjaroenrat had already declared the iTV Plc shares under his name. However, he could not recall when the declaration had occurred reports Bangkok Post.

Kasemmongkol was responding to questions about whether Limjaroenrat had failed to declare his ownership of 42,000 iTV shares to the NACC when he became an MP following the 2019 election.

“Limjaroenrat might have initially been unsure if the shares were his, as he serves as executor of the inherited shares,” Kasemmongkol said, adding that this uncertainty could be the reason for the delay in declaring them.

Kasemmongkol stated that the EC would ultimately determine whether Limjaroenrat’s shareholding would render him ineligible to participate in the upcoming election.

Election Commission secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee pointed out that with just two days remaining until Election Day, there might not be sufficient time for the commission to complete its investigation into the matter. He also noted that the investigation could be conducted after the election to ensure fairness for all parties involved.

Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a candidate on the Palang Pracharath Party’s party list, submitted additional documents to the EC yesterday to support the claims regarding Limjaroenrat’s iTV share ownership. Leekitwattana also questioned whether the registration of MFP MP candidates in all 400 constituencies might be declared invalid if Limjaroenrat, who approved their registrations, were to be disqualified due to the iTV shareholding issue.

Thailand News

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.