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Thailand’s Main Opposition Party Faces Dissolution for Undermining the Monarchy

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Thailand's Senators Oppose Move Forward Party's PM Candidate

Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) petitioned the Constitutional Court on Monday, seeking it to disband the main opposition Move Forward Party (MFP). Mr Sawang Boonmee, the EC secretary-general, electronically submitted the plea to the court.

According to the Bangkok Post, the court meets weekly on Wednesdays, and it is unclear whether it will accept the petition for consideration at that hearing.

On March 12, the Election Commission unanimously decided to petition the Constitutional Court to dissolve the MFP after the court declared on January 31 that the MFP’s continuous efforts to amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese majeste statute, demonstrated an aim to undermine the constitutional monarchy.

Based on the verdict, the EC claims that the MFP breached Section 92 of the fundamental law on political parties. The clause empowers the court to dissolve any party that appears to endanger the constitutional monarchy.

The court also ordered the MFP to stop all attempts to amend Section 112. It stated that campaigning on the matter is an attempt to abolish the constitutional monarchy and breaches Section 49 of the constitution.

Petitioning Thailand’s Royal Defamation Law

The MFP proposed revisions that required the Royal Household Bureau to register any lese majeste complaints in Thailand. It also advocated for decreased penalties. The judges cited Pita Limjaroenrat, the party’s former leader, as well as the MFP’s general acts, including bail applications for defendants in lese majeste cases.

Forty-four of the party’s MPs, including its main adviser, Mr Pita, could face a lifetime political ban as a result of an investigation into whether they followed the code of ethics in their stance on the lese majeste law.

Lawyer Theerayut Suwankesorn petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) last month, requesting that it examine allegations of major ethical violations by 44 parliamentarians who presented a bill to alter Section 112 on March 25, 2021.

The petition followed the court’s January 31 decision. Mr Theerayut also petitioned the EC to commence dissolution procedures against the MFP. Mr Theerayut stated that political officeholders are expected by law to uphold certain ethical principles, including protecting the royal institution.

Barred from running in Thailand’s elections

Section 235 requires the NACC to report any charges of major ethical violations by political officeholders to the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions. If the court approves, they will be suspended from duty pending its decision.

If found guilty, they will be barred from running in elections for MPs, senators, and local organization members.

They will be barred from holding any political office for the rest of their lives. The court may suspend their voting privileges for up to ten years if it thinks necessary.

Rangsiman Rome, an MFP list MP, said on Monday that independent agencies worked quickly to resolve the dissolution case against the MFP.

“I wonder whether they will also work just as fast in the case involving Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun,” he went on to say.

On December 14, last year, public prosecutors filed a lawsuit in the Criminal Court against Mr Upakit, accusing him of money laundering and supporting a multinational criminal network.

The lawsuit was brought after the Attorney-General’s Office decided to indict Mr. Upakit on allegations of money laundering, involvement in a transnational criminal organization, and assisting or cooperating in an illegal narcotics network.

The senator was suspected of having ties to Myanmar native Tun Min Latt, who was arrested for drug trafficking and money laundering on September 17, 2022. Sen Upakit denied all charges.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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