Pita Limjaroenrat, the young progressive Thai opposition leader who was blocked from being prime minister has been found not guilty of violating election laws.
The 43-year-old and his progressive Move Forward party had won the most votes during the general election in May 2023, when voters rejected the military government, which had ruled since taking power in a coup in 2014.
Pita had run on a campaign of promoting democracy, removing the military’s influence on politics and revising the lèse-majesté law, which jails people for criticizing the monarchy.
However, he was suspended from parliament and blocked from seeking the role of prime minister for allegedly violating election laws.
Thailand’s parliament then approved Srettha Thavisin, a real estate developer, as its prime minister, instead.
The constitutional court said it had suspended Pita to rule on whether he had disclosed he owned shares in a media company before running for office, which is mandatory under Thai law.
But Pita said that he had informed authorities that he owned less than 0.1% of shares in iTV, a media company that has not operated since 2007.
On Wednesday Jan. 24, the court found that Pita had not broken the law as iTV was not operating when he submitted his name for election.
Pita, who resigned as party leader in September, will now be able to be reinstated as a member of the parliament.
Speaking after the verdict, Pita said he was eager to get back to work and serve the people as soon as possible.
However, he and Move Forward are facing another case in the constitutional court for their plan to reform the lèse-majesté law and whether that constitutes attempting to overthrow the king.
A ruling is expected on Jan. 31, but if found guilty, Pita would be banned from politics and Move Forward would have to be dissolved.
More on This
Subscribe To The Almost Newsletter For More