Thai court bans party for nominating princess for PM
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered the dissolution of an opposition party for nominating the king’s sister as its candidate for top minister in a March 24 election.
Thai Raksa Chart party chief Preechapol Pongpanich and participants of his party arrive on the Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Thailand, March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetah
Banning the Thai Raksa Chart party simply over two weeks earlier than the overall election struck a blow to opposition events’ possibilities of defeating events allied to the army junta that has dominated since a coup d’etat in 2014.
“The court has ordered that the party be dissolved,” Judge Taweekiet Meenakanit stated within the ruling, which additionally banned the party’s govt board participants from politics for 10 years.
Thai Raksa Chart is one in every of a number of events dependable to ousted former top minister Thaksin Shinawatra in an election that widely pits his supporters in opposition to established order events, together with one who has junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha as its top ministerial candidate.
Police had deployed greater than 1,000 officials in and across the court and cordoned off the encircling house forward of the ruling.
Party chief Preechapol Pongpanich, who used to be visibly emotional, informed journalists outdoor the court the party approved the ruling.
“We all had good intentions for the country,” he stated.
Supporters had been observed crying, announcing they might vote as an alternative for different opposition events.
The Election Commission requested the court to dissolve the party after it nominated Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi for top minister, which the fee described as “antagonistic toward the constitutional monarchy”.
The princess relinquished her royal titles in 1972 however remains to be formally handled as a senior member of the royal circle of relatives, which is extremely respected in Thailand.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn strongly adversarial his sister’s nomination, calling it “inappropriate” and unconstitutional and her candidacy used to be abruptly disqualified by way of the Election Commission.
While Thai Raksa Chart isn’t the biggest pro-Thaksin party, dissolving it will weaken his supporters’ means of fielding a number of separate events within the hope of securing extra seats for Thaksin loyalists.
New electoral regulations installed position by way of the outgoing navy govt receive advantages smaller events on the expense of the highest vote-winning events when 150 “party seats” are shared out within the 500-seat House of Representatives.
The different 350 seats are without delay elected.
“Dissolving Thai Raksa Chart … would lead to a kind of disenfranchisement because Thai Raksa Chart forms a large chunk of the pro-Thaksin party team,” Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University, informed Reuters earlier than the ruling.
The princess, who broke with royal custom by way of making an attempt to go into politics, is in Germany, in keeping with her posts on Instagram.
She didn’t make an instantaneous connection with the court ruling however stated on Thursday: “Today, I want to continue moving ahead in working for Thailand.”
Thaksin’s fighters have sought to painting his motion as insufficiently dependable to the monarchy – which the self-exiled Thaksin vehemently denies – and Thai Raksa Chart’s nomination of the king’s sister used to be supposed to refute that statement.
But Thitinan stated the banning of Thai Raksa Chart used to be not likely to lead to fewer votes for pro-Thaksin events and extra for pro-military ones. Voters who have been aiming to reinforce it will merely transfer to every other pro-Thaksin party.
“The structure of Thailand’s polarization with Thaksin and what he stood for as the fault line remains more or less the same,” he stated.
Additional reporting by way of Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by way of Kay Johnson and Robert Birsel