The Election Commission has agreed to launch an inquiry to determine if Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat has violated Section 42(3) and Section 151 of the organic law on the election of MPs by applying as a list-MP candidate despite knowing he may not have been eligible to run for a House seat, a source said.
The EC's decision comes after the six commissioners decided unanimously not to accept complaints involving Mr Pita's alleged shareholding offence, the source said.
The petitions were rejected on the grounds that they were lodged after the qualifications of election candidates were examined.
However, because the petitions contain certain facts and information regarding Mr Pita's qualifications that can be further looked into, the EC has agreed to launch a probe to determine if Mr Pita violated Section 42(3) and Section 151 by applying as a list-MP candidate despite knowing he may not have been eligible to contest.
Meanwhile, the MFP has assured its seven coalition allies that Mr Pita, its prime ministerial candidate, will gain more support from the Senate and that it has already got at least 40 votes from senators.
A source revealed that the meeting of the prospective coalition on June 7 saw a heated debate over whether the MFP can gather enough votes from MPs and senators to install its party leader Mr Pita as the next PM.
Representatives from seven parties voiced concern that the transition team would be in vain if the MFP failed to secure 376 votes or half of the 750 seats in parliament, to support Mr Pita as the next prime minister.
MFP secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon reportedly said the MFP had been consistently approaching senators to lobby them.
Mr Chaithawat explained that, of all 250 senators, about 40 are likely to vote for Mr Pita. Moreover, some others from the business and civil sectors are open-minded and would also welcome Mr Pita as PM, he added.
"Not all military-appointed senators are content with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. There is still a possibility the [MFP] can approach them and discuss the matter. As of now, we are certain that about 40 senators are backing us," he said.
The source revealed that Mr Chaithawat hopes the MFP can gain 100 votes from the Senate. He said the MFP would be ready to talk to more senators, and if any coalition party can introduce more senators to them, it is welcome to do so.
However, the seven coalition parties are sceptical about the MFP's strategy. Suriya Juangroongruangkit, a key figure from the Pheu Thai Party, reportedly said the MFP should seek support from more MPs by including new parties in the coalition.
He said the eight-coalition bloc has 312 votes, and if it adds 40 more senators, Mr Pita would still need another 24 votes.
"If we accept the truth, we need to include more MPs [in the coalition]. It is impossible to find support from the Palang Pracharath and United Thai Nation parties," Mr Suriya said.
Mr Pita responded by saying no more parties would be joining the coalition. However, the MFP has been talking to other parties that will make up the opposition in an attempt to convince them to support the MFP-led government.