Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a candidate for the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) list-MP, recently leveled accusations against Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader and prime ministerial candidate for the Move Forward Party (MFP). Mr. Ruangkrai claimed that Mr. Pita held shares in the media company iTV Plc as of April 27th of the previous year. If the Election Commission agrees with this assertion, Mr. Pita could face disqualification from running for parliament, as Section 98(3) of the constitution forbids media company shareholders from participating in a general election.
Mr. Ruangkrai announced his intentions to petition the commission for a formal investigation into Mr. Pita’s alleged ineligibility to defend the House seat he won in the 2019 election. According to Mr. Ruangkrai, when Mr. Pita was sworn in on May 25, 2019, the 42,000 iTV shares he held at the time of registration were not included in the 45 assets that he declared to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
Mr. Ruangkrai further stated that a check with the Department of Business Development revealed Mr. Pita’s ownership of these iTV shares, each valued at 5 baht, as of April 27th the previous year. Citing information posted on iTV’s website, Mr. Ruangkrai also noted that the company provides advertising and public relations services, and reported an income of 21 million baht last year.
In response to these allegations, Mr. Pita denied any ownership of the iTV shares in question, stating they did not belong to him. In a tweet, he explained, “I am not worried about the case because the shares are not mine. It’s a family heritage, and I’m the manager of that. I informed the National Anti-Corruption Commission about this a long time ago.” Mr. Pita added that his party’s legal team is prepared to supply any additional information required by the Election Commission should they inquire.
This unfolding controversy showcases the complexities and high stakes involved in political elections. As allegations surrounding Mr. Pita’s ineligibility continue to circulate, it remains to be seen how the Election Commission will handle the situation and whether Mr. Pita’s participation in the election process will be affected. The final outcome of this investigation could have significant consequences for both Mr. Pita’s personal political future and the Move Forward Party as a whole. Regardless of the result, this incident highlights the importance of transparency and adherence to the rules outlined in the constitution during political campaigns.