Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a key Progressive Movement figure who is assisting the Move Forward Party's election campaign, on Thursday urged its supporters to fight all attempts to discredit Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader and sole prime ministerial candidate of the MFP, as well as any attempts to keep the party from winning the upcoming election.
Mr Piyabutr was referring to petitions submitted to the Election Commission (EC) accusing Mr Pita, 42, of being ineligible to contest the election due to his media company shares.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Mr Piyabutr called on supporters to join hands in canvassing for more than 10 million votes for the MFP, so it can win the highest number of parliamentary seats to lead the formation of a new government.
"With this extremely high popularity, we now have to think big and dream big, not just be a middle-sized party in a coalition government," Mr Piyabutr said. "We will have to [obtain] the highest number of seats and lead the new government."
He said the petitions lodged against Mr Pita were essentially a "legal war" to destroy the MFP.
Mr Piyabutr said neither the party nor its supporters would shudder, however. He said the only way to deal with this threat is to fight back.
Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), on Thursday insisted Mr Pita had already declared the shares under his name in iTV Plc, although he could not remember when Mr Pita actually declared them.
Mr Niwatchai was responding to questions raised over whether Mr Pita had failed to declare 42,000 iTV shares to the NACC when he was sworn in as an MP after the 2019 election.
"Mr Pita might at first be unsure if those shares were his, as he serves as executor of the inherited shares," Mr Niwatchai said.
"That could be the reason why he declared them later."
"As for whether his holding of these shares may make him ineligible to run in the coming election or not, the EC will have to judge," he added.
Election Commission secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee said there were only about two days left till Election Day, which may not be sufficient for the commission to complete its investigation into the matter.
After all, the investigation could be done after the election, he said, adding it is more important to allow the probe sufficient time to ensure fairness for all sides.
Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a Palang Pracharath Party list-MP candidate who on Wednesday petitioned the EC to look into Mr Pita's iTV share issue, yesterday submitted more documents to the EC to support his allegations.
Mr Ruangkrai also raised a question on whether the registration of MFP MP candidates in all 400 constituencies might also be declared invalid later if Mr Pita, who approved their registrations, is disqualified over the iTV shareholding issue.