Thailand parliament blocks Pita Limjaroenrat’s 2nd bid to be prime minister, court earlier suspends him as MP

End of his PM bid.

Yen Zhi Yi | July 19, 2023, 06:48 PM

Mothership WhatsApp banner

Mothership Telegram banner

Thailand's National Assembly has blocked Prime Minister hopeful Pita Limjaroenrat's re-nomination on Jul. 19.

This means that Pita, the sole candidate for Thailand’s premier and leader of opposition Move Forward Party (MFP), has failed in his second bid to be elected as Prime Minister.

Second PM vote

The National Assembly, consisting of senators and MPs, was due to vote for the country’s new prime minister for the second time today.

It was Pita’s second bid at the PM role, after receiving 51 votes short of the 375 needed in the first voting on Jul. 13.

This time, Thailand's parliament voted 394-312 to block his re-nomination, out of the 715 lawmakers present.

They earlier deliberated on the issue, with some parliamentarians raising the matter of whether his candidacy could actually be tabled for a second time.

This referred to Rule 41, which states that if a motion that was tabled fails to be approved in parliament, it cannot be tabled for a second vote, according to Thai PBS World.

Prior to the Jul. 13 vote, lawmakers also focused on MFP’s proposal to reform Thailand's powerful Lese Majeste law, which prohibits and penalises any criticism of the monarchy.

Suspension as MP

Earlier in the day, the Constitutional Court also suspended Pita as an MP, while he received the official advisory letter around 2:40pm, according to Bangkok Post.

He will remain suspended until a verdict is issued by the court.

Legal woes

On Jul. 12, Thailand's Election Commission (EC) had said that it will seek a court ruling on whether Pita should be disqualified.

He has shares in a supposedly defunct media company iTV, which could be regarded as a violation of election laws.

Separately, on Jul. 12, the court also accepted a complaint against him and his MFP for proposing to amend the Lese Majeste law.

If found guilty of attempting to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system, he could be banned from politics, while his party may face dissolution.

Earlier, supporters of MFP gathered outside parliament in light of the Constitutional Court's move, while police officers attempted to maintain order.

Acknowledgement of suspension

Before leaving the chamber, Pita appealed to his fellow parliamentarians to take good care of the people.

“I would like to take the opportunity to say goodbye until we meet again,” he said.

“Thailand has changed since May 14. The people have already won halfway. Even though I'm not carrying out my duties, I’m asking my fellow MPs to help take care of the people."


Pita also posted on his Instagram account, admitting that it was insufficient just to win the people’s trust to run the country, as he still needed the Senate’s approval.

“But then suddenly, it's not enough to run for a second time,” he wrote.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by พิธา ลิ้มเจริญรัตน์ (@pita.ig)

In a later post, he uploaded a video with the caption “I’ll be back”.

He can be seen raising his fist into the air, removing his MP tag and leaving the chamber, to the applause of lawmakers.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by พิธา ลิ้มเจริญรัตน์ (@pita.ig)

Alternative PM candidate

In a video posted on Jul. 15, Pita himself said that he is prepared to step aside for a coalition partner in order to form the government, should he fail to become prime minister again.

He noted that his party would be prepared to step aside in favour of coalition partner Pheu Thai.

Pheu Thai won 141 seats in parliament, a narrow second after MFP’s 151 seats.

Srettha Thavisin

According to one of Pheu Thai's PM candidates, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the party will be nominating property tycoon Srettha Thavisin for the third round of PM voting if Pita failed, The Nation reported.

Noting that the “best choice” for PM is Srettha, she was confident in his abilities to deal with Thailand’s economic woes.

If Pheu Thai does not become the coalition leader, it will still support the MFP’s eight-party coalition, Paetongtarn was quoted as saying.

Srettha has also expressed his readiness in taking on the PM role and noted that Pheu Thai's priority would be to focus on the country's slowing economy, according to the Bangkok Post.

However, Bhumjaithai Party’s leader Anutin Charnvirakul reportedly said that his party will not support Pheu Thai's PM candidate as they remained in a coalition with MFP.

Read more:

Top image via Instagram/@pita.ig