Thai Parliament blocks leader of party that won election from being renominated for prime minister

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BANGKOK — The bitter battle to name Thailand’s next prime minister took a major turn Wednesday as Parliament voted to deny Pita Limjaroenrat, whose progressive Move Forward Party won a surprise victory in May’s election, a second chance to be confirmed for the post.

Pita had assembled a coalition of parties holding a majority in the House of Representatives. But his nomination for prime minister was defeated in a joint vote of the House and Senate last week, with conservative military-appointed senators mostly refusing their support.

A joint session debated Wednesday whether Pita could be nominated for a second time, and House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha then put the question to a vote. A motion to deny him a second chance was passed by a vote of 395 to 312, with eight abstentions. The meeting of Parliament was then adjourned with no immediate indication of when it would vote again on a new prime minister.

It was the second blow suffered by Pita on Wednesday, after the Constitutional Court suspended him from Parliament pending its ruling on whether he violated election law.