Pita accuses ‘unfair’ EC of expediting case against him ahead of PM vote
Move Forward Party leader and prime minister candidate Pita Limjaroenrat said the Election Commission had not been fair to him and appeared to have speeded up the iTV shareholding probe against him ahead of the PM vote on Thursday.
Pita, however, said he was confident of winning the PM race on Thursday.
He was speaking to reporters after the EC resolved on Wednesday morning to ask the Constitutional Court to disqualify him as an MP for holding 42,000 shares in media firm, iTV Plc, when he filed his papers to run in the May 14 election.
Pita said he felt that he had not been treated fairly by the EC because its investigative panel had never summoned him and given him a chance to explain his position.
The EC ordered a probe against Pita after an activist, Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, filed a complaint with the EC that he was not qualified to run in the election as he held 42,000 shares in media company, iTV. Ruangkrai alleged that iTV was still an active media firm. The Constitution bars a person holding shares in a media company from running in an election.
Pita had clarified earlier that iTV was no longer an active media firm and that he held the shares only in his capacity as the executor of his father’s estate on behalf of his family.
“I feel I have not been treated fairly,” Pita said.
He said the EC had also unfairly compared the case against him to the dissolution case against the Future Forward Party in 2020 for borrowing money from its then party leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.
The EC cited the ruling against Thanathorn to justify its decision to ask the Constitutional Court to disqualify Pita.
The Move Forward leader noted that the two cases were different and pointed out the EC had completed the probe against him in half the time it took to wrap up the case against Thanathorn.
Pita said the probe against him was completed in just 32 days and the EC made its decision just one day before the Parliament would hold a session to elect the prime minister.
Pita also alleged that the EC had used different standards in the case against him compared to the cases against members of the outgoing Prayut Chan-o-cha Cabinet.
“It seems that the EC speeded up the case,” Pita said.
He asserted that his quest for the post of prime minister would not be bogged down by the EC’s decision.
He said there had been reports about lobbying of senators to vote against him because of the possibility that he would win the required 376 votes on Thursday to become the next prime minister.
“I believe the signs bode well for us, so there have been attempts to lobby senators against me,” Pita said.
He said he was not worried about the PM vote on Thursday and he would enter Parliament to deliver his vision and answer questions raised during the debate ahead of the PM vote.
The Move Forward-led coalition has a total of 312 MPs and it needs 64 more votes – either from senators or from MPs outside the bloc.
Pita said he would wait for a ruling from the Constitutional Court with confidence. He also thanked all his supporters, saying his morale was still high.