Petitioners have no right to challenge move to block Pita’s renomination: court


The Constitutional Court on Wednesday rejected a petition submitted by the ombudsmen that challenged a parliamentary resolution blocking the renomination of the Move Forward Party’s candidate for PM, saying the plaintiffs had no locus standi on the matter.

The court decided that only Move Forward PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat and other PM candidates announced by political parties could invoke Article 213 of the Constitution to seek the court’s ruling against the parliamentary resolution invoking Article 41.

The court announced that the complainants cited by the ombudsmen for submitting the petition were not affected parties as defined by Article 213.

The court said since it had decided not to accept the petition for a judicial review, it did not have to consider the ombudsmen’s request to suspend the next round of the PM vote as well.

The court’s ruling paves the way for holding the next round of election for PM as soon as the Parliament president sets the date.

On August 3, the Constitutional Court had deferred its decision on whether to accept the petition filed by the ombudsmen until Wednesday.

The petition was filed after a majority of senators and MPs united on July 20 to vote that the election of prime minister falls under Article 41 of parliamentary meeting regulations. The regulation says that a motion that has already been rejected by Parliament cannot be resubmitted in the same session unless the meeting decides certain situations have changed.

The parliamentary resolution prevented Pita from being nominated a second time and, as a result, the second round of voting for Thailand’s PM did not take place as scheduled on July 20.

On July 24, the three ombudsmen voted unanimously to seek the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the legality of the parliamentary resolution.

They argued that Article 41 of the meeting regulations were subordinate to Articles 159 and 272 of the Constitution that sanctioned the PM vote.

The petition from the ombudsmen stated that it was made based on two complaints — by Assoc Professor Pornchai Theppanya, Asst Professor Boonsong Chalethorn, and Move Forward MP Panyarat Nanthapusitanont — and a third by a “group of complainants”.

On August 3, the court asked the ombudsmen to clarify the status of the complainants in the third group before the court could decide whether to accept the petition.

The court reasoned that Article 213 and Article 46 of the Constitutional Court Trial Procedure Act were intended to protect individuals whose rights were violated by state officials.

The court said the plaintiff under Article 213 must be a person whose rights and liberty were affected directly by the process to elect the prime minster under Article 272 of the Constitution.

The court said such persons should have been PM candidates, who had already been announced by political parties when they submitted their PM candidate lists to the Election Commission before the May 14 election.

“Since all the complainants are not the persons announced by political parties as PM candidates, the complainants are not the ones whose rights were violated directly, so they cannot invoke Article 213 to file a petition,” the court ruled.

The court noted that there was another “specific” constitutional channel for the complainants to file their petition but they could not petition under Article 213. However, the court did not elaborate about the other channel.