After the court unanimously accepted an election Commission petition to investigate whether the 42-year-old politician violated election law by owning shares in a defunct media company, crowds started gathering outside the parliament. The petition argued that Pita should be disqualified from serving in parliament as he possessed 42,000 shares of ITV Public Co. Ltd.
Pita has 15 days to respond to these allegations.
It remains unclear how this suspension will immediately affect the ongoing session of parliament, which was meeting for a second vote today, a week after Pita's initial denial for the premiership, largely due to opposition from military-appointed senators.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, the debate continued inside the parliament in Bangkok's Dusit district. Outside, protesters assembled at the front gate, where orange smoke, associated with Pita's progressive Move Forward Party, filled the air as people voiced their disapproval, viewing it as the latest attempt to deny power to a duly elected leader.
On the other side of the gate, a large group of riot officers stood guard, instructing the crowd not to throw anything inside the building.
In the first round of voting last week, Pita received the support of 324 lawmakers in both houses, falling short of the simple majority required, which is 376. He was voted down by 181 nays and 198 abstentions, effectively rejecting his bid.
It appears unlikely that Pita would win in the second round, as the military-appointed senate remains steadfast in their opposition to his leadership.
The coalition of parties led by Move Forward reached an agreement earlier this week that if Pita does not succeed on Wednesday, a candidate from the second-place Pheu Thai Party will be nominated for the top political position.