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Thailand: Top court decision prolongs political deadlock

August 3, 2023

Thailand's Constitutional Court put off ruling on whether to block election winner Pita Limjaroenrat's premiership bid. The Thai royalist-military establishment has prevented Pita's Move Forward Party from taking power.

A Move Forward Party (MFP) supporter holds a poster of leader Pita Limjaroenrat (C) during a protest at Puea Thai Party's headquarters in Bangkok on August 2, 2023.
Election winner Move Forward Party has been trying to push forward its leader Pita Limjaroenrat for the prime minister postImage: AFP

Thailand's Constitutional Court on Thursday postponed its decision on the legality of blocking the premier candidate of election winner Move Forward Party (MFP) from forming a government.

The court said it needed more time and evidence to decide whether to accept the challenge to parliament's refusal to allow MFP's Pita Limjaroenrat a second shot at the prime minister post.

The decision was pushed back until August 16.

This prolongs Thailand's political deadlock, ongoing since the May election.

A third vote for prime minister due to be held on Friday will be postponed until after the court's decision, house speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha said.

Thai court disqualifies Pita Limjaroenrat from parliament

Why is there a political deadlock?

The MFP party came out with the biggest number of seats in the May polls.

Wowing voters with plans to reform the country's tough royal defamation laws and dismantle business monopolies, the MFP won the support of young and urban Thais weighed down by years of military rule.

However, its aspirations crashed on the rock of the kingdom's powerful establishment.

The Senate, whose members were handpicked by the last junta, blocked Pita's prime minister bid.

The MFP allied itself with Pheu Thai, which came second in the poll, alongside six other parties. However, Pheu Thai decided on Wednesday to seek a new alliance that would exclude MFP, after its candidate for prime minister was blocked twice.

Several other parties refused to support any government involving the MFP, forcing the highest claimant of seats back into the opposition.

Thai opposition wins parliamentary elections

rmt/sms (AFP, Reuters)