The news comes as Thaksin Shinawatra has postponed his return and also linked it to the formation of a new government while Pheu Thai’s popularity has been severely weakened by its decision to betray its political partner, the Move Forward Party, on Wednesday, when it exited the May 22nd eight party pact towards a ‘Government of Hope’ unveiled with so much fanfare then. Political pundit Chuwit Kamolvisit has predicted that a new Pheu Thai Party coalition with the Bhumjaithai Party, Pracharath Party and the Democrat Party will be unveiled but will be joined later by the conservative Palang Pracharat and the United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) parties to give the new government a comfortable majority in parliament. At the same time, opposition to Mr Srettha Thavisin is growing among conservatives and it is thought his nomination may not have an easy passage from the Senate when or even if a vote is finally taken.

The Constitutional Court in Bangkok, on Thursday, threw a spanner in the works of the Pheu Thai Party’s frantic efforts to pull together a coalition ahead of a vote on Friday in parliament to elect Mr Srettha Thavisin as Thailand’s 30th Prime Minister. That vote is now postponed until at least August 16th with the court indicating that substantial issues arose over the controversial blocking of a second nomination of Mr Pita Limjaroenrat of the Move Forward Party in parliament in a vote taken by parliament at the instigation of President Mr Wan Muhamad Noor Matha on July 19th last.

The vote on Friday, when Pheu Thai expected to nominate Mr Srettha Thavisin as PM, has now been postponed as political uncertainty grows. The Constitutional Court on Thursday said that the petition filed with it early last week involved matters of considerable importance that it must review carefully.

The Constitutional Court in Bangkok, on Thursday morning, issued a statement which is a setback to efforts by politicians to elect Thailand’s next Prime Minister and form a government.

The court took up a petition sent to it early last week from the Office of the Ombudsman and then postponed consideration of the case before it, on what it considered substantive legal issues arising from the blocking of an attempt to re-nominate Mr Pita Limjaroenrat of the Move Forward Party on July 19th last in parliament by conservative elements supported by the senators in large numbers.

Statement issued by the Constitutional Court at 11.35 am on Thursday postponed consideration of the substantial issues raised until August 16th next

The President of the Parliament had allowed the nomination of Mr Pita for a second time to be put to a vote of the body, a move which is now being reviewed by the court and which many leading law experts have deemed illegal.

In a statement issued at 11.35 am by the Court, it confirmed that after consideration of the matter before it, it found that there were important issues to be weighed carefully by it, which related to the principles of the Constitution and the operations of institutions of the State. 

The Court postponed consideration of the petition until Wednesday, August 16th next. 

This means that a parliamentary session on Friday will not be able to go ahead with a vote on the nomination of a Prime Minister.

The Pheu Thai Party had been expected to nominate Mr Srettha Thavisin as Thailand’s 30th Prime Minister.

No vote on the election of a Prime Minister can take place until after that date, which will extend the current and rising political uncertainty

This follows days of intense political negotiations including yesterday’s decisive announcement that the Pheu Thai Party had pulled out of the eight-party Memorandum of Understanding and Pact signed on the 22nd of May 2023 to form its new coalition. 

Reports on Wednesday night and Thursday suggested that Pheu Thai is getting ready to unveil a coalition with the Bhumjaithai Party, the Democrat Party, the Palang Pracharat Party and several other smaller parties giving it 264 seats in the House of Representatives.

But according to political analyst and truth activist Mr Chuwit Kamolvisit, it will be left for the parties associated with conservative factions in Thai politics, the Palang Pracharat Party and the UTN Party to join the government at a later stage.

The news came as also, on Thursday,  sources linked with Mr Thaksin Shinawatra confirmed that he will not be returning to Thailand although Pheu Thai Party sources later insisted that the August 10th date was still firm.

Plans afoot to elect Mr Srettha Thavisin as Prime Minister but with an open invitation for conservative parties to join later. Thaksin postpones return

The latest reports from sources lin ked with Mr Thaksin indicate that his return was now dependent on the formation of a new government.

This had been predicted by sources in the Senate and by Mr Chuwit over the weekend despite a firm denial from Mr Thaksin’s daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra or Ung Ing who insisted that her father’s plans had not changed. 

The acceptance of the petition and postponement of consideration of the case before it effectively means that the Constitutional Court has now begun to review a decision by the Parliament on July 19th to block the re-nomination of Mr Pita Limjaroenrat based on Rule 41 of the Parliament’s Standing Orders.

PM votes suspended indefinitely as Constitutional Court asked to review the last vote in parliament

This provoked an intense response from the public and from the legal community with 115 law professors signing a joint petition to the Office of the Ombudsman early last week, pointing out that the nomination of a prime minister in Parliament should not be subject to the normal rules attached to legislative matters being considered before it. 

Legal case before the court is significant 

The legal opinion of the lawyers was that the nomination of a prime minister was a constitutional function being conducted by the members of Parliament under the 2017 Constitution and therefore could not be subordinated to the rules of Parliament.

However, the opposing view on the matter argues that the court should not intervene in matters concerning the deliberations of Parliament as it would constitute a breach of the separation of powers.

In addition, those who support the decision made by Parliament on July 19th point out that the consideration of a nomination for Prime Minister can indeed be treated as a normal activity of Parliament which may be subject to secondary rules imposed by the body on it.

Thursday’s surprise Constitutional Court decision as well as public anger at the Pheu Thai Party is contributing to an increasingly febrile atmosphere

Thursday’s decision by the Constitutional Court, in addition to violent protests seen outside the Pheu Thai headquarters on Wednesday means the political crisis in Thailand is deepening and the formation of a new government is now several weeks off.

The political situation has suddenly become quite febrile and uneasy.

On August 14th, it will be three months since the General Election without any definitive conclusion to the ongoing process.

In addition, there is already mounting concern about the candidacy of Mr Srettha Thavisin with speculative reports and anonymous sources briefing the media questioning a specific land deal conducted by his property company, Sansiri, which prompted a letter from the company, on Thursday, clarifying details of the transaction, after it was claimed that taxes may have been withheld from the government. 

Rising questions about the candidacy of Mr Srettha Thavisin as Sansiri firm issues clarification on a land transaction being speculated upon in public

In a statement on Thursday, Sansiri Public Company Limited with offices in Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, pointed out that the transaction in question was completely above board and all tax affairs relating to it were handled by the seller according to the contract. 

Sources within the Senate and among conservative factions are also openly questioning Mr Srettha Thavisin as a fit candidate under Section 160 of the Constitution as Prime Minister based on his remarks during the election campaign which tended to suggest he supported amending Article 112 of the Criminal Code and his recent commitment not to touch the law if he becomes the next PM

Article 112 of the Criminal Code on lèse-majesté has become the biggest single issue in political efforts to form this new government

The controversial provision of the Criminal Code on lèse-majesté has become a lightning rod for Conservatives to oppose any new Prime Minister from the winning parties in the May 14th General Election.

The issue has been amplified by the concerns of Thailand’s upper house or Senate who are at the centre of this impasse and tussle for power.

Political analysts now suggest that the decision by the Pheu Thai Party on Wednesday to sunder its relationship with the Move Forward Party has weakened it and leaves it open to further machinations from conservative elements with calls already coming from such voices for the election of a Conservative Prime Minister at the head of any coalition which may be formed involving Pheu Thai.

Today’s petition to the Constitutional Court was brought under Section 213 of the Constitution which allows citizens and interested parties to object to any decision which may impinge on the rights of any citizen or which may be considered inconsistent or contrary to the Constitution.

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Further reading:

Pheu Thai gives Move Forward the boot, promises a new Constitution and another General Election

Fate of Thaksin linked to political fate of the kingdom as Chuwit predicts his return deal is off at this time

Fears grow that Thaksin has become a pawn for conservatives to break the 8 party democratic pact

Prime Minister, business leaders oppose strategy to countdown the clock on the Senate’s power

PM votes suspended indefinitely as Constitutional Court asked to review last vote in parliament

Pheu Thai meets Anutin as Move Forward’s Pita turns up the pressure on its conflicted leaders

Former police chief and political leader says Move Forward must sacrifice itself for the country

Anutin waits for the call from Pheu Thai but will not treat with Move Forward over its policies

Pheu Thai to install Srettha as Prime Minister by forming a coalition pact with government parties

Pita suspended as an MP and loses renomination attempt in parliament as Senate blocks his path

Tide going out in parliament for Move Forward as it faces being axed or sidelined from real power

US expresses concern about the democratic ‘will of the people’ as tension mounts over legal case

Senators to the fore as tide favours a conservative fix to install a more mature next government

Thailand is facing a deep political crisis as Pita loses key vote and top court takes up complaints

Plan is to rally parliament behind the people’s will to elect Pita Limjaroenrat as Prime Minister

Move Forward leader says Pita will be PM despite the rumour mill and some vociferous senators on the right

Pheu Thai may face a terrible dilemma as outgoing government parties still aim for power in PM vote

Wan Noor elected unopposed as House Speaker, Move Forward Party nominee for deputy wins vote

King and Queen open parliament amid uncertainty as to Tuesday’s vote on the Speaker of the House

Breakthrough deal could see either Pita or Srettha take job as Thailand’s 30th PM on July 13th

PM’s soothing words for frayed nerves as he says he will continue his role up to the next cabinet

Baht falls to 7-month low as unease grows over chances of Pita Limjaroenrat being elected as PM

New PM in July a turning point for the Thai economy in 2023 which could still see 4% GDP growth recorded

Pita’s election as PM and political certainty would be a green light for new jobs and investment

79 new MPs face scrutiny as Election Commission says only 321 to be declared elected on June 21st

Way cleared for Pita’s election as PM but seeds sown for political conflict with criminal probe under poll law

Dangerous political flux in the aftermath of the General Election is growing and poses a threat

Pita shares cast a pall over historic May 14th Election, fears that the results may be nullified by a court

Compromise mooted between Pheu Thai and Move Forward on House Speaker job before key meeting

Kooky Palang Pracharat reports rejected on Tuesday by Prawit as Pheu Thai stands by Pita for PM

Move Forward’s ‘Government of Hope’ coalition delivers a programme promising a new charter

Jatuporn warns Pheu Thai may be turned as he predicts a political impasse. Should wait for 2024

Election vote for Move Forward may have been a cry for help from voters mired in short-term debt

Pita, Move Forward and eight other parties meet in Bangkok and come out smiling, ready to govern

Pita plots a new coalition government with Pheu Thai but open conflict has already raised its head in the Senate

Move Forward Party’s good election result leaves uncertainty as to who will form the government