Thailand’s future is in limbo after candidate elected by popular vote to become prime minister was accused yesterday of breaking election law. Pita Limjaroenrat, who leads the progressive Move Forward Party, swept to a surprise victory in May’s general election running on a reformist platform. But Pita has now been accused by the country’s Electoral Commission of illegally holding undeclared media company shares (although the company stopped operations 15 years ago) and threatening the country’s political system by proposing reforms to Thailand’s (draconian) monarchy defamation laws. The big picture: Thailand’s ruling conservative establishment has played dirty tricks before through supposedly independent state agencies – like the Electoral Commission – to keep control of the country. To become prime minister, Pita needs 376 votes across the country’s elected house and non-elected Senate in a vote today (his alliance is currently on 312 votes). The result will likely define the next era of Thai politics.
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