Senators still unsure about backing Pita

Senators still unsure about backing Pita
A joint meeting of MPs and senators. (File photo)
A joint meeting of MPs and senators. (File photo)

The majority of senators have not yet decided if they will back Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister, according to outspoken senator Wanchai Sornsiri.

He said senators exchanged views about the issue on Friday, but their opinions do not represent their final stance or indicate how they will vote.

Senators have three options — vote for Mr Pita, not vote for him or abstain from voting — but it is hard to say what the majority will decide, and several are not expected to make a decision until voting day, he said.

Mr Wanchai also said he stands by his words that he will vote for the prime ministerial candidate nominated by a coalition that manages to secure more than 250 House seats.

The MFP-led bloc, with eight political parties and 313 House seats, needs at least 376 votes in the 750-seat parliament, which comprises 500 MPs and 250 senators, to secure Mr Pita’s bid for prime minister.

According to Mr Wanchai, the Senate is unlikely to factor in the allegations made against Mr Pita over his ownership of shares in iTV when they vote, as the issue should be left in the hands of the relevant authorities.

A candidate is constitutionally barred from contesting in an election if they own shares in a media company.

Political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana has asked the Election Commission to investigate Mr Pita, claiming the MFP leader owns 42,000 shares in iTV.

Senator Kittisak Rattanawaraha confirmed on Tuesday he would not vote for Mr Pita because he disagrees with the MFP’s highly controversial policy to amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Tuesday the five-year term of the current Senate expires on May 11 next year, and it can no longer join the prime ministerial vote. However, it will continue in its caretaker capacity.