Thai parliament to hold next PM vote on July 19

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Thailand’s parliament confirmed Friday it would vote again on a new prime minister next week, after pro-royalist lawmakers foiled liberal frontrunner Pita Limjaroenrat’s bid for the top job.

Deputy house speaker Pichet Chuamuangphan told AFP that the ballot would take place next Wednesday.

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Pita’s Move Forward Party (MFP) won the most seats in May elections, buoyed by young Thais eager for progressive reforms after nine years of army-backed rule.

But the Harvard-educated millionaire’s campaign to lead the next government was knocked back Thursday by the legislature’s military-appointed senators, who consider his pledge to reform the kingdom’s strict royal defamation laws a red line.

Pita was the sole candidate in Thursday’s ballot but fell 51 votes short of the 375 lawmakers he needed to secure his appointment.

Pichet, also a lawmaker for the MFP’s coalition partner Pheu Thai, said it remained unclear whether Pita would be renominated or whether he would face any additional candidates in the next ballot.

“We still have to talk about it first,” he said. “For now, it’s gathering opinions and feedback from the people.”

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