July 25, 2023
BANGKOK – The three ombudsmen are unanimously questioning the constitutionality of parliamentarians blocking Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat from being renominated as PM candidate.
The Office of Ombudsmen announced on Monday that the regulators have decided to ask the Constitutional Court to see if the Parliament decision last week was constitutional. It also wants the court to suspend the second round of PM voting set for Thursday.
Pol Lt-Colonel Keerop Kritthiranont, the office’s secretary-general, said the ombudsmen decided to seek a ruling from the Constitutional Court based on 17 petitions submitted by some MPs and the general public against the parliamentary resolution last Thursday.
Last Thursday, senators and MPs from partners of the outgoing coalition joined hands to vote that the PM vote falls under Article 41 of the parliamentary meeting regulation.
Article 41 states that a motion that has already been rejected by Parliament cannot be resubmitted for deliberation in the same session unless the chair of the meeting decides certain situations have changed.
This vote saw the second round of PM voting postponed to this Thursday after Move Forward was not allowed to renominate Pita.
However, several law academics and Move Forward MPs disagreed with the resolution, saying the nomination of a PM candidate is carried out under the Constitution, which has a higher legal status than parliamentary meeting regulations.
Keerop said the three ombudsmen studied the 17 petitions and unanimously agreed that the petitions met all criteria to be passed on to the Constitutional Court.
He added that the lawmakers’ voting to block Pita from being renominated violated the rights and liberty of the petitioners.
He said the Constitutional Court has the power to keep Parliament in check if it does something that can be seen as violating people’s rights.
The ombudsmen said the PM’s election was sanctioned under Articles 159 and 272 of the Constitution, and blocking it under Article 41 of the regulations was in violation of the charter. This resolution also violated people’s rights, they said.
The ombudsmen believe if this dispute is not settled by the Constitutional Court, it would affect the stability of people’s rights and liberty, Keerop said.
The ombudsmen also told the court that if the PM vote scheduled for this Thursday was not suspended, it would cause damage beyond remedy later, he said.
After Move Forward was blocked from renominating Pita for the PM race, it passed the baton of forming a new government to the second-largest election winner, Pheu Thai.
Pheu Thai will reportedly nominate its second PM candidate Srettha Thavisin in the next round of voting.
Parliament President Wan Muhamad Noor Matha has been informed of the ombudsmen’s decision, his assistant secretary Muhamad Rusdee said. He quoted the Parliament president’s spokesman Khampee Disthakorn as saying that Wan Noor has not yet decided to speak to the press about this matter.