The Constitutional Court’s unanimous decision to dismiss the Move Forward Party (MFP)’s petition to rule on the constitutionality of the rejection of MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s renomination by the 394 parliamentarians means that the upcoming Prime Minister (PM) voting can now proceed.
The court determined that the plaintiff, the Office of the Ombudsman, was not directly affected by the parliamentarians’ decision, which primarily impacted Pita. Therefore, the court declined to accept the petition.
This ruling effectively prevents Pita’s renomination for the position of prime minister. However, the MFP announced this week that if the court chose not to accept the petition, they would submit another petition to parliament, urging them to reconsider their decision instead of seeking a ruling on its constitutionality.
As the court dismissed the petition, the request to delay the PM voting until the court delivered its verdict is now null and void. This clears the way for the PM voting to proceed. House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha stated earlier this week that the voting could take place on either August 18 or 22.
The House Speaker will convene a meeting with senate representatives and political parties to decide the date for the PM voting.
Pheu Thai party confirmed on Tuesday that they intend to nominate Srettha Thavisin as the premier candidate for the upcoming PM voting.
The current Pheu Thai-led coalition, consisting of nine parties and totaling 238 MPs, includes Pheu Thai (141 MPs), Bhumjaithai (71), Chart Thai Pattana (10), Prachachart (9), Chart Pattana Kla (2), Pheu Tai Ruam Palang (2), The Party of Thai Counties (1), Palang Sangkhom Mai (1), and Seri Ruam Thai (1).
Pai Leeke, a Palang Pracharath MP for Kamphaeng Phet and a member of its negotiation team, reiterated last week and this week that the party’s 40 MPs would vote unconditionally for the Pheu Thai PM candidate in the upcoming PM voting.
With this support, Srettha currently holds 278 votes in his bid to become the 30th prime minister of Thailand. However, this falls short of the required threshold of 375 votes to secure the premiership.
The Move Forward Party stated this week that they will not vote for Srettha, necessitating the Pheu Thai-led coalition to rely on votes from the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party, the Democrat Party, and the Senate.
On Tuesday, the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party disclosed that they have yet to be approached by the Pheu Thai Party to join the coalition. The party’s leader, Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, emphasized that any negotiations regarding their support for Srettha or coalition participation need to occur before the PM voting. The party will not simply vote for the Pheu Thai PM candidate without prior discussion.
Jurin Laksanawisit, the acting leader of the Democrat Party, confirmed on Wednesday that no discussions have taken place between his party and the Pheu Thai Party regarding the possibility of the Democrat Party joining the Pheu Thai-led coalition.
Pheu Thai has consistently asserted their confidence in gaining sufficient votes from the Senate and political parties for Srettha’s nomination. However, some senators have raised concerns about voting for Srettha due to his prior statements advocating for amendments to the lese-majeste law and allegations of tax evasion made against him by former MP Chuwit Kamolvisit.
Some MPs and senators are calling for parliament to allow Srettha an opportunity to clarify his stance on the lese-majeste law and address the allegations against him on the day of the PM voting. House Speaker Wan Noor confirmed that parliament’s legal team is reviewing this possibility, but no decision has been reached yet.
If Srettha fails to garner enough votes, he cannot be renominated again either.