Second Prime Minister Vote Set for Thursday Could Face Delay

The upcoming vote for prime minister, initially set for Thursday, could be delayed following the Ombudsman’s determination that it should be held off until a Constitutional Court decision is made regarding the declined PM nomination of Pita Limjaroenrat.

The Ombudsman requested the Constitutional Court on Monday to instruct the parliament to delay the upcoming prime ministerial vote, pending a verdict on Mr. Pita’s rejected renomination.

Pol Lt Col Keerop Kritteeranont, Secretary-General of the Office of the Ombudsman, stated that 17 objections were lodged against the parliament’s decision to reject the re-nomination of Mr. Pita as Prime Minister, saying it infringed their constitutional rights.

These objections originated from both the general public and parliament members, he mentioned, with some protestors suggesting the court should delay the next Prime Minister vote until a court ruling is made.

Hence, the Ombudsman has made a plea to the court to delay the vote for the Prime Minister by Members of Parliament and senators until a verdict is made to prevent irreparable future damage, as reported by Pol Lt Col Keerop.

Earlier on Monday, MFP Secretary-General Chaithawat Tulanon said that the party had appealed to the Ombudsman to ask the Constitutional Court to decide if Mr. Pita could be renominated.

Later, Nonthaburi MP for MFP Panyarut Nuntapusitanon confirmed that she and 16 other MFP MPs had together filed one of the objections with the Ombudsman’s office.

After the Ombudsman’s intervention, House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha stated that a group of parliamentary lawyers were still undecided on whether to postpone the PM vote.

He further added that this matter would be brought up for discussion at a meeting on Wednesday with outgoing government whips, the opposition, and the Senate.

“The result of a meeting today with the eight potential coalition parties will also be considered,” Mr Wan shared.

On July 19, parliament rejected the re-nomination of Mr. Pita by majority vote. His opponents argued that parliamentary rule 41 prohibits the resubmission of a failed motion within the same session, including Mr. Pita’s renomination.

Supporters of Mr. Pita contended that his nomination was not a common motion and should not be subjected to rule 41.

Approximately 115 law professors from 19 institutions expressed their disagreement on Monday with parliament’s July 19 resolution to block Mr. Pita’s renomination.

Senator Seree Suwanpanont proposed on Monday that Section 272 of the constitution should be abolished to resolve the impasse over the renomination of a PM candidate.

According to the constitution, if a joint parliamentary meeting fails to select a new premier from party candidate lists, Section 272 would activate an alternate path.

In such a scenario, half of the 750 MPs and senators could propose a motion to suspend the rule that PM candidates must come from party lists, allowing an outsider to be nominated.

“Such a move needs the backing of two-thirds of all legislators, or 500, to suspend the rule, enabling candidates from the parties’ lists or an outsider to be nominated for a vote,” he explained.

Mr. Seree stated this means a PM candidate who was previously rejected could also be re-nominated only if two-thirds of the legislators agree to suspend the rule.

In this scenario, Mr. Seree stated that Mr. Pita could be renominated, although the MFP leader is currently under scrutiny over his eligibility due to shareholdings in iTV Plc.

Ex-Constitutional Court judge Jarun Pukditanakul stated that the court lacks the power to consider the Ombudsman’s petition on the constitutionality of parliament’s denial of Mr. Pita’s renomination under regulation 41.

According to Mr. Jarun, the court can be asked to rule on a draft of a parliamentary regulation that is yet to be enforced, but not a regulation that has already been implemented.

The rules of Parliament are the responsibility of the legislative branch, and the court doesn’t have the authority to instruct the Parliament, the Senate, or the House of Representatives to delay a PM vote as the Ombudsman requested, he stated.