On Wednesday morning, July 19th, the Constitutional Court placed a hold on the duties of Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP) and a candidate for prime minister, in his duty as an elected House of Representatives member.
This decision was made public after the court took up for review a complaint revolving around Mr. Pita’s inherited stake in the now-bankrupt media company iTV Plc.
Parliamentarians are constitutionally barred from owning shares in a media company. Mr. Pita, however, contends that the 42,000 shares were part of his deceased father’s property, which he was managing as an executor.
He has maintained that the ownership has since been transferred to family members.
His suspension does not hinder his potential nomination for the position of prime minister, a matter which was also under discussion in the joint session on Wednesday.
Last week, this case was brought to the attention of the Constitutional Court.
The Election Commission proposed to the court that Mr. Pita be divested of his MP status due to his ownership stake in a media company.
The electoral body also requested the court to put his MP duties on hold until a final decision is reached.
Earlier today, it was announced by the Constitutional Court that the judges unanimously agreed to take up the case.
By a majority vote of seven to two, the court also opted to promptly suspend Mr. Pita from his MP responsibilities until the judgement is passed, due to potential legal challenges, objections, and conflicts which could interfere with the functioning of the House and the Parliament.
The court instructed Mr. Pita to submit his formal response within a 15-day period following receipt of the court’s decision copy.