Supporters of Move Forward Party's leader and its prime minister candidate Pita Limjaroenrat carry placards and a megaphone as they march toward the Pheu Thai Party headquarters during a protest in Bangkok, Thailand, 02 August 2023. EFE-EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

Thai constitutional court to hear plea on parliament blockade against election winner

Bangkok, Aug 3 (EFE).- The constitutional court on Thursday agreed to hear a petition linked to the parliament blocking the prime ministerial candidate of the party that won the largest number of seats in the May elections, a decision which would further delay the formation of the new government.

Pheu Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew (C) speaks during a press conference alongside Pheu Thai secretary-general Prasert Chanthararuangthong (R) and Pheu Thai Deputy Leader Phumtham Wechayachai (L) at the Pheu Thai Party headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, 02 August 2023. EFE-EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

The bench of the constitutional court would announce their verdict on Aug. 16 according to a court statement.

Due to this, the speaker of the house of representatives, Wan Noor, notified the postponing of the session – previously scheduled for Friday – to elect the next leader of the country, pending the judicial judgement.

Thailand has been stuck in a political deadlock for two and a-half months since the May 14 elections following the unexpected victory of the Move Forward party, a progressive group that seeks to oust the military from power for the first time in over a decade.

The election results have triggered a political upheaval in the country.

Move Forward had formed a pro-democracy coalition with seven other parties to seek a majority among the 500-members of the house of representatives.

However, the coalition has so far failed to form a government after Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat was twice blocked by opposition from the senate, an unelected chamber whose 250 members were chosen by the former military junta (2014-2019) after it reformed the constitution.

Both the 500 elected lower house members and the 250 handpicked senators participate in the prime minister’s selection.

The appeal admitted by the constitutional court on Thursday is linked to Pita’s second bid to form a government, on July 19, which was blocked by a controversial motion that gained majority support, holding that the proposal had already been rejected and could not be put to vote again.

Due to being blocked repeatedly, in late July Move Forward decided to cede the bid to form the government to its coalition partner Pheu Thai – the second largest party after the polls – and on Wednesday the latter announced an end to the alliance with Pita’s party.

The electoral promise to reform the draconian royal defamation law that protects the monarchy from all criticism is the main obstacle Move Forward faces when it comes to forming a government, according to many of the senators who opposed Pita’s candidacy.

Pheu Thai, which is set to nominate construction magnate Srettha Thavisin as its candidate for prime minister, was set to announce its new alliance on Thursday, but decided to postpone the event in light of the latest developments. EFE