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Leader of Thailand’s Move Forward Party, Pita Limjaroenrat, Resigns from Politics

Leader of Thailand’s Move Forward Party (MFP), Pita Limjaroenrat, has announced his resignation as the party’s leader following his suspension from his MP duties pending a court ruling. Pita, who led the progressive MFP to victory in the country’s election in May, was prevented from taking power by legislators. Under the current , the person serving as parliament’s opposition leader must be an MP, which Pita is currently unable to fulfill due to his suspension.

In a social media post on Friday, Pita stated that he decided to step down in order to comply with the court’s order and allow the party to appoint a new member as the opposition leader, a role he described as “greatly important.” The MFP will select its new leaders on September 23, and Pita mentioned that he will stay involved with the party, regardless of his role.

analyst Thitinan Pongsudhirak praised Pita’s decision as a testament to the MFP’s commitment to policy and the modernization of Thailand. He stated that the MFP was the “real ” and stepping aside would enable the party to pursue its reformist agenda effectively.

Pita’s suspension originated from his attempt to seek parliament’s to be named prime minister in July. The Constitutional Court suspended him from his seat in the House of Representatives as it investigates whether he violated the law by holding shares in a now-defunct media company while running for office. Pita has denied these charges and MPs in Thailand are prohibited from owning media shares as per the country’s . If found guilty, Pita could face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 60,000 baht ($1,675), while his party could be fined up to 100,000 baht ($2,793).

The ruling on Pita’s case by the Constitutional Court is still pending, and he was given a 30-day extension in late August to prepare his defense.

During the May election, the MFP received the most votes but was thwarted by conservative members of the unelected Senate from forming a government due to its pledge to revise a law protecting Thailand’s from criticism. As a , the Pheu Thai Party, which came second in the polls, formed a coalition government with the support of military-backed parties. Pita’s resignation allows the MFP to focus on its role as an effective opposition party, advocating for their progressive agenda.

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