Details of shareholding violation complaints against Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat will decide his fate and determine if the May 14 general election is nullified, according to caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.
He was responding to questions about the possible scenarios if the Constitutional Court rules against Mr Pita, who holds 42,000 shares in iTV, an independent broadcaster founded in the 1990s.
A candidate is constitutionally barred from contesting an election if he or she owns stakes in a media company. The Election Commission (EC) has started a probe into the shareholding complaints against Mr Pita, who is the party's list-MP and prime ministerial candidate.
The complaints are calling into question Mr Pita's status as an MP and as the future prime minister, with speculation growing that it might affect the fate of all MFP candidates.
Mr Wissanu said: ''The details of the complaints are a key factor in determining how things will play out.''
If the petitions target only his status as an MP, Mr Pita could assume the prime ministerial post despite being disqualified because the prime minister is not legally required to be an MP, he said.
If the complaints involve Mr Pita's prime ministerial qualifications, he could still be an MP, Mr Wissanu said, adding that if the complaints touch on both issues, the court would rule on them, which could affect Mr Pita's endorsement of election candidates in the May 14 polls.
It depends on the complaints and whether they cover these three issues, he said.
When asked what happens if the petitions target Mr Pita's approval of the MFP candidates, he said that in such a scenario, there could be a new nationwide general election.
Mr Wissanu said he is not aware of the details of the petitions against Mr Pita, adding he is not suggesting how a complaint should be written.
He urged people not to assume anything. "You should not have such a far-fetched imagination. Consider it step by step. The EC has not taken any action. Do not jump towards any negative scenarios just yet," he said.
The details of the complaints are a key factor in determining how things will play out - Wissanu Kreu-ngam, deputy prime minister.
Political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, who filed the petitions, said his petitions cover all the points, including implications of the issue of Mr Pita's party leadership and his certification of the MFP candidates.
Meanwhile, when asked about Mr Wissanu's comments, Mr Pita on Wednesday said he is not worried about the petitions and the party is prepared to deal with the situation. The MFP leader said there is time for him to clarify the allegations and he has not seen the details of the complaints.
He insisted that setting up transition teams is a normal practice in other democratic countries, responding to criticism that it was intended to pressure the Senate to vote for him as prime minister.
He said the transition team and the seven working panels are not a shadow cabinet and they are there to address issues set forth in the memorandum of understanding.
Senator Seree Suwanpanont said on Wednesday he believed the formation of the working panels is the MFP's attempt to intensify public support for the MFP-led alliance and pressure the EC and the Senate. "I think they should have waited until the government is formed," he said.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday no state agencies had contacted the MFP to schedule meetings with the transition team of the MFP-led coalition.
"I've asked state officials and my staff and found none of them did so. Don't believe it all," Gen Prayut said when asked about Mr Pita's remark that state officials had asked for meetings.
On Tuesday, Gen Prayut criticised the MFP's transitional plans as inappropriate because it was not the government yet.