The Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) has asked the Constitutional Court to drop a case against its 27 MPs for allegedly holding media shares on a technicality.
Future Forward MPs asked Parliament Speaker Chuan Leekpai last week to ask the court to rule whether 41 MPs of the coalition parties, 27 of whom are from PPRP, had broken the election law by holding media shares, a ground for disqualification as MPs. Mr Chuan sent the case to the court a few days later.
FFP had earlier asked the Election Commission (EC) to consider the case but had received no response so it took another route by asking Mr Chuan instead.
The court is considering the request and will decide whether there is enough ground to accept it. If it does, the 27 MPs might be suspended from performing MP duties.
PPRP lawyer Tossapol Pengsom said on Thursday the 66 FFP MPs who signed the document submitted it as a letter, not as a petition as prescribed by law.
“We view the submission was not done correctly so the case should be dropped,” he said.
Spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana earlier said PPRP would seek an injunction if the court accepted the case.
“The court has the power to give an injunction and there was a precedent during the Samak Sundaravej government,” he said.
Media shareholding has become a weapon for MPs to destroy one another after two FFP MP candidates were disqualified by provincial election courts for having media shares before the March 24 election.
The constitution bans media company shareholders from running as MPs out of a concern they might exploit their media for unfair political gains.
The problem with the requirement is that most companies have used a standard form with a wide scope of businesses when they were registered and one of the listed businesses is media.
As a result, a company which operates a restaurant or a farm may have listed media as one of the businesses they could operate in their articles of association when in fact it has never owned or operated any media business.
FFP leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was the first to take the hit. The court accepted his case submitted by the EC and suspended him from performing his duty before he was sworn in.