MFP slams threats of dissolution
The Move Forward Party (MFP) has accused the Election Commission of failing to spell out what its MPs said during a parliamentary debate last year that could present a reason for dissolving the party.
Chaithawat Tulathon, the party secretary-general, said the MFP has been served with a notice from the EC to testify in a case in which the party is accused of debating the budget allocation for the palace in a way that could be construed as undermining the constitutional monarchy. It is an offence punishable by party dissolution.
The accusation stems from a petition lodged by Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a member of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, on Aug 23 last year.
The petition was filed a day after some MFP MPs spoke in parliament during the budget expenditure motion. Mr Ruangkrai alleged content from the MPs' debate statements might undermine the constitutional monarchy, a legal violation under the Political Parties Act, and asked that the EC refer the case to the Constitutional Court and recommend the MFP be disbanded.
Mr Ruangkrai said several MFP MPs took part in the debate on the spending of the budget set aside for the palace. A part of the debate referenced the monarchy and Section 112 of the Criminal Code, better known as the lese majeste law. The speeches also allegedly touched on the budget spending going unchecked.
Yesterday, Mr Chaithawat said the EC has called on the party to give statements regarding the petition.
He insisted the EC's summons notice did not specify what the offending comments were, adding this must be made clear since the charge was so severe that it puts the party's future on the line.
Rangsiman Rome, another list MP from the party, said the threat to dissolve a political party over a budget debate was creating a climate of fear among MPs, which would render budget revisions impossible.