Election intrigue: Thai court mulls lawsuit over EC’s unjust targeting of MFP leader Pita

Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of Move Forward Party, raises his hand as he leaves Parliament in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, July 19, 2023. Picture courtesy of AP.

In a significant development, the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases is considering a lawsuit against the Election Commission (EC) of Thailand for unjustly targeting Pita Limjaroenrat, the Move Forward Party’s leader, resulting in damage to his reputation.

A verdict on whether to officially open the case for hearing is expected at 9:30am on August 9. Those implicated in the lawsuit include EC Chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong, all five election commissioners, and EC Secretary-General Sawang Boonmee, as disclosed by Yongyut Saokaewsatit, the legal representative of Pita.

It is claimed that all seven EC officials are culpable for negligence of official duties and misconduct, as detailed in Section 157 of the Criminal Code. The lawyer stated that if found guilty, this could potentially lead to the impeachment of all seven EC officials.

This case comes on the back of the EC’s decision to escalate an ineligibility case relating to Pita’s prior holding of 42,000 shares in iTV Plc, to the Constitutional Court. The lawyer said…

“It has been incumbent on these seven EC officials to meticulously scrutinise Limjaroenrat’s eligibility before the general election that took place on May 14.”

Yet, it appears that the officials did not fulfil this duty until a complaint was lodged by political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana. Leekitwattana accused Limjaroenrat of being ineligible to compete in the election on the grounds of his stake in a media company, according to the lawyer, reported Bangkok Post.

Prior to his candidacy in the election, the 42 year old MFP leader had already served a full term as an MP post his victory in the 2019 General Election. Up until then, the EC had raised no concerns about his eligibility. However, they hurriedly investigated the Bangkok-born politician’s case and forwarded it to the court just before last week’s parliamentary vote to elect the country’s new prime minister, in which Pita was the sole nominee. The lawyer added…

“The move was apparently designed to smear Pita’s image and tarnish his reputation.”

These facts have been utilised as part of the evidence that substantiates the failure of the seven EC officials in performing their duty, according to his lawyer.

In related developments, Jakkrit Thongsri, a Bhumjaithai Party MP for Buri Ram, was found to have declared a holding of 40,000 shares in iTV to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The shares, along with other assets valued at 84.42 million baht, were declared at the end of his prior MP tenure, as per information published by the NACC.

Pita today was suspended from his role as an elected member of the House of Representatives by the Constitutional Court. To find out why click HERE.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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