On Friday, February 21, 2020, the Constitutional Court of Thailand will be deciding whether the newly formed political party, Future Forward Party (FFP) would be dissolved in a charge related to the violation of election laws.
In the general election of the country last March, nearly two years old political party, FFP secured as the third-largest party getting 81 seats out of 500 and seated in the Thailand parliament as the opposition party to a former military leader, the Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha led government.
Charges of Illicit Loans of the Party
The country’s court would deliver its verdict on Friday relating to FFP’s charges of taking illicit money from the party’s founder for the general election last year and challenging the military establishment.
The party, which was founded by a charismatic auto-parts billionaire, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit in March 2018, has emerged as a major adversary to the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, a former military leader who led the overthrowing of an elected government in a 2014 coup.
The party, which has won over many young voters disillusioned by years of strife, is now facing its second-time court hearing in weeks. Last month, the Constitutional Court of the country had sought the hearing from the party leaders regarding the accusations that the party tried to overthrow the existing monarchy system.
In the latest charge against the party, the Election Commission made an allegation that the party leaders accepted a 191.2 million baht ($6.08 million) loan from the party’s founder, Thanathorn. According to election rules, the law limited donations from an individual up to 10 million baht ($318,167), accepting more loans by a party would be liable to be banned.
Thanathorn’s FFP Responses
Denying the allegations, Thanathorn, the founder of FFP, said the financial arrangements between himself and the party were above board. He posted on Facebook after the news, “If we could turn back time … we would do the same thing because it was transparent and verifiable.”
Citing the doubt over the possibility of a fair hearing, he claimed, “Why do we face a party dissolution, a ban on executives and even jail for wanting to build a new type of honest political party with good intentions and transparency?”
In November 2019, Thanathorn was suspended from parliament in a case related to a breaching election law after he was found of holding shares in a media company when he registered as a candidate. He rejected the allegation by claiming that he sold the shares before registering. With this new development, it was possible to ban the leaders of the opposition party if the party is found guilty. This would probably lead to the strengthening the slim parliamentary majority of Prayuth’s coalition.
The FFP and its allies had been arguing about the last year’s election result alleging that the rules of the election were written to make the victory for Prayuth’s pro-army party. Prayuth earlier responded that such a constitution drafted under the guidance of military rule was necessary to ensure stability after years of political chaos and occasional violence in the country.
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