Pita still an MP, eligible to contest for PM, say Senate whips
Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat is still a member of Parliament and can still contest for the prime minister’s post on Thursday, the Senate whips decided during a closed-door meeting on Wednesday.
The Senate whips met for 40 minutes after the EC resolved on Wednesday morning to ask the Constitutional Court to disqualify Pita as an MP for holding 42,000 shares in media company, iTV Plc.
Khamnoon Sitthisamarn, the spokesman of the Senate whips, said that in the judgement of the whips, Pita remained an MP until ruled otherwise by the charter court.
The petition asking the court to disqualify Pita as an MP was only an opinion of the EC, he said.
Khamnoon said the discussion on Pita’s status was done in the later part of the meeting of the whips on how to allocate debate time among senators.
Senators will be given two hours to debate before the vote. General Singsuek Singphrai, deputy Senate speaker, will be in charge of supervising the debate by senators. Singsuek will select the senators who would speak and approve the points they would debate, Khamnoon added.
Apart from the two-hour debate by senators, MPs will be given four hours to speak before the voting on the next PM at 5pm.
Khamnoon said the whips agreed that the senators should not debate in the manner of a censure debate against Pita or any PM candidate.
He said the whips also discussed inconclusively whether a candidate could be allowed to enter the PM race two or three times.
The meeting of the Senate whips was chaired by Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai.
Reporters and Senate Secretariat officials were asked to leave the meeting room when the whips started considering the issue of Pita’s status.