Thwarted Thai PM candidate faces court case that could end career

Thwarted Thai PM candidate faces court case that could end career
Thwarted Thai PM candidate faces court case that could end career

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Former Thai prime ministerial candidate and ex-Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat speaks to the media before a hearing regarding his ownership of media shares at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok on December 20, 2023. ― AFP pic

BANGKOK, Dec 20 ― Thailand's thwarted election winner Pita Limjaroenrat said today he had no concerns as he prepared to give evidence in a court case that could see him barred from politics.

The Constitutional Court is considering whether the former leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP) broke rules banning members of parliament from owning shares in media companies.

The 43-year-old has insisted he will run for office again, but if the court rules against him, he could be disqualified from parliament altogether.

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MFP won the most seats in Thailand's May general election but Pita was blocked from becoming prime minister by conservative forces opposed to his reform agenda.

“I've been waiting for this day a long time so that I can communicate with others that I am confident of the truth,” Pita told reporters as he arrived at court.

“I don't have any concerns. I am happy to answer all questions.”

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The case revolves around shares in the long-defunct ITV television station, which Pita says he inherited from his father when he died.

MFP rode support from young and urban Thais weary of a near-decade of military rule to secure a shock election victory in May, beating the Pheu Thai party of veteran political playmaker Thaksin Shinawatra into second place.

But MFP's pledges to reform Thailand's strict royal insult laws, as well as plans to break up business monopolies and take on the military's influence in politics, spooked the kingdom's powerful elite.

Pita was blocked by senators ― appointed by the last junta ― from becoming prime minister, and Pheu Thai formed a coalition that included pro-military parties but shut MFP out of government.

Pita stepped down as party leader in September. ― AFP

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