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Thailand’s Election Commission says the top candidate for the premiership may have violated electoral law

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Election Commission said Wednesday it has concluded there is evidence that the top candidate to become the country’s next prime minister, Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the Move Forward party, has broken electoral law and has referred his case to the Constitutional Court for a ruling.

The committee’s decision, announced in a press release, means that the court may order Pita to be suspended from his duties as an MP until the ruling is made. In theory, it cannot be ruled out that he will be nominated by parliament on Thursday to become prime minister, because the position does not have to be filled by a legislator. But it makes his confirmation by an already uncertain parliamentary vote even less likely.

The Move Forward Party took a surprise first place in the May general election, taking 151 seats in the 500-member House of Representatives and the most popular vote. Move Forward assembled an eight-party 312-seat coalition that planned to take power. But the improbable endorsement of members in the conservative, unelected 250-seat senate, participating in the vote for prime minister, makes Pita’s rise to power difficult.

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The case against Pita hinges on his alleged ownership of shares in a media company, which would prevent him from running for office. The complaint against him, filed by a member of a rival political party, related to the period of the 2019 general election. Pita had disputed the basis for the claim, which extended to the fact that he failed to sell the shares on a mandatory basis. asset declaration.

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