TRC defends princess nomination

TRC defends princess nomination

Party denies violating spirit of monarchy

Thai Raksa Chart Party leader Preechapol Pongpanich makes a high wai as the party's nomination of Princess Ubolratana fell apart on Feb 12. (File photo)
Thai Raksa Chart Party leader Preechapol Pongpanich makes a high wai as the party's nomination of Princess Ubolratana fell apart on Feb 12. (File photo)

The Thai Raksa Chart Party's (TRC) legal team yesterday submitted its defence and a list of witnesses to the Constitutional Court over a charge that the party had violated the spirit of the constitutional monarchy and the 2017 Political Parties Act by nominating Princess Ubolratana as its prime ministerial candidate.

The party insisted it received consent from Princess Ubolratana to stand as the TRC's prime ministerial candidate and there are no any laws barring the princess to hold the political position as prime minister as she had relinquished all her royal titles.

Led by Surachai Chinchai and Norawich Lalaeng, the legal specialists handed in nine copies of the defence along with a witness list. Yesterday was the last day for the TRC to deliver the document to fight the charge.

The Constitutional Court last Thursday accepted an Election Commission (EC) request for a hearing to dissolve the TRC for nominating the princess. The court asked the TRC to submit the defence within seven days of receiving its copy of the EC's complaint.

The recommendation, according to the EC, is based on Section 92 (2) of the 2017 organic law on political parties, which allows the EC to propose the dissolution of a party to the court if it has obtained enough evidence that the party committed an act deemed hostile to the monarchy.

In its petition, the EC has also asked the Constitutional Court to ban the TRC executives from voting and running in elections for a minimum of 10 years, or even life, depending on the court's decision.

The EC did not announce the princess as the TRC's prime ministerial candidate.

In a media statement, Mr Surachai said the legal team would focus on three key points in defending the TRC's actions.

First, the party has no hidden agenda and its nomination received consent from Princess Ubolratana to stand as the TRC's prime ministerial candidate .

Secondly, the party will show the term "hostile" does not cover the party's actions. In their view, the term covers communism and rebellions under Section 113 of the Criminal Code.

Lastly, the EC's complaint is unlawful because the agency failed to follow a due process by conducting a probe into the issue. Mr Surachai said the legal team submitted to the court a list of 19 witnesses with 14 of them party being executives and the five others being non-party members.


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