‘Pita cannot be nominated for PM if charter court issues injunction’
Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Tuesday that Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat could not be nominated as a prime minister candidate if the Constitutional Court issues an injunction barring him from performing his duties as an MP.
Wissanu was commenting on speculation that a group of senators might invoke Article 82 of the Constitution to seek a ruling from the court as to whether Pita was qualified to be an MP.
Wissanu said if the court accepts such a petition for deliberation and if it subsequently suspends Pita as an MP pending the ruling, Pita could not be nominated to contest for the prime minister’s seat.
Opponents of Pita in the Senate have reportedly threatened to invoke Article 82 of the charter to ask the Constitutional Court to block Pita from executive power.
On Friday, the Election Commission ordered a probe as to whether Pita had violated Article 151 of the MPs election act. The article seeks criminal punishment against a person who applies for election as an MP despite realising he or she is not qualified to contest.
The EC ordered the probe after political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana accused Pita of being unqualified to contest the election for holding shares in a media firm, ITV Plc.
Wissanu said if the EC decides to press charges against Pita under Article 151 of the election act, the case would be sent to the Criminal Court and it would take time before the court would make a ruling.
Until the Criminal Court makes a ruling, he cannot be nominated to contest a prime minster election in Parliament.
Wissanu added that if Pita wins the vote to become the next prime minister, the Parliament president will have to nominate him for royal endorsement by His Majesty the King.
Parliament will have to inform the King of the pending legal case against Pita and the final decision on whether to appoint Pita as the next prime minister would depend on the King, Wissanu explained.
Wissanu said the Parliament president would be held responsible for any later problem if he sends Pita’s name for the King’s endorsement.