The Constitutional Court has suspended Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the Move Forward Party and a prime ministerial candidate, from his elected position in the House of Representatives.
The court’s decision came on Wednesday in response to a complaint related to Mr. Pita’s ownership of shares in the now-defunct media company iTV Plc.
According to the Thai constitution, holding stock in a media organization is not allowed for parliamentarians. Bangkok Post reports that Mr. Pita has maintained the 42,000 shares were part of his late father’s estate, which he managed as the executor. He further asserted that the ownership had been transferred to relatives.
It’s worth noting that this suspension doesn’t impede his potential nomination as prime minister, a matter that the joint sitting was also discussing on the same day. Although, the 42-year-old politician has been asked to immediately cease performing his duties as a parliamentarian until the court has ruled on his matter.
Last week, Thailand’s Election Commission sought a ruling from the Constitutional Court to determine whether Pita, should be disqualified from running for the PM’s office. The commission itself had concluded that Pita violated election law while running for elections while holding shares in a media company.
If found guilty of violating election law, Pita is likely to face potential repercussions like disqualification, a jail term of up to 10 years, and a 20-year ban from politics if found in violation of election rules.