Pita Fails To Win PM Position As He Loses First Parliament Vote

Pita Limjaroenrat’s initial attempt on Thursday to become the country’s future prime minister was unsuccessful, as he didn’t manage to obtain the necessary endorsement from over half of the parliament’s members.

The final vote count was 324 votes for, 182 against, and 199 abstentions, from the 705 participating members. The leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP) required 375 votes — a simple majority of the 749 total seats in the House and Senate — to secure the position.

Mr. Pita garnered 311 votes for from the MPs and 148 against, along with 39 abstentions. He got a meager 13 votes for from the senators, 34 votes against and 159 abstentions.

Previously, Parliament President Wan Muhamad Noor Matha had announced that the second and third rounds of voting will be conducted on July 19 and 20.

It remains uncertain whether the Move Forward leader’s name will be reconsidered on either or both occasions.

“We accept the result, but we are not retreating,” Mr. Pita communicated to journalists shortly after the announcement of the results.

“The outcome was not up to our expectations. We will put in effort to amass support for the subsequent vote. I will re-strategize to ensure we acquire the necessary votes next time.

“We will not modify our policies, we must keep our promise to the people,” he further stated.

The voting process at the combined session of the House of Representatives and the Senate came after six hours of discussion on Mr. Pita’s qualifications, the lone candidate.

Parliament members primarily debated controversies surrounding the MFP’s intent to modify Section 112, or the lese-majeste law, and Mr. Pita’s ownership in iTV Plc. The constitution forbids any media organization shareholder from participating in a general election.

Mr. Wan concluded the discussion at 3.52pm. He commended the parliament members for their collaboration during the session, enabling the discussion to end an hour earlier than scheduled.

The session witnessed 705 out of 749 parliamentarians (one senator had resigned on Wednesday) confirming their presence for the vote. This number included 216 senators.