Pita Limjaroenrat, the head of the reformist party that garnered the most seats in Thailand’s May parliamentary elections, announced his resignation on Friday.
The young challenger used a surge of voters enraged at nearly a decade of junta-backed rule to propel the Move Forward Party (MFP) to the top of the polls.
But strong conservative parliamentary blocs prevented him from becoming prime minister, and he was later expelled from the House of Representatives.
The MFP announced their intention to enter opposition after splitting from a coalition with Pheu Thai, a rival opposition group that later formed a government with pro-military parties.
Pita stated on his official Facebook page that he stepped down as the MFP’s party leader “to make way for an MP that is able to have a voice in parliament, be the opposition leader.”
Currently, the opposition’s leader is required to be a member of parliament.
Pita tweeted, “I won’t be able to get my MP position and be the opposition leader in the near future due to my MP suspension.”
While awaiting the Constitutional Court’s decision about his ownership of shares in a now-defunct media company, he was placed on administrative leave in July.
In accordance with the Thai Constitution, MPs are not permitted to possess media stock.
Pita declared in the Facebook post that he will continue to be actively involved in the party.
Regardless of my position, I will continue to be active in MFP and give the group my all-out effort so that we can accomplish something together.