EC provides clarity on dissolution cases

EC provides clarity on dissolution cases

The Election Commission is considering complaints against Thaksin-linked Thai Raksa Chart and pro-regime Palang Pracharath parties, amidst open fears of double standards.
The Election Commission is considering complaints against Thaksin-linked Thai Raksa Chart and pro-regime Palang Pracharath parties, amidst open fears of double standards.

The Election Commission (EC) insisted there are justifications for handling two cases involving the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC) and the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) differently. Both parties are facing offences which will possibly lead to their dissolution.

EC chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong said Thursday the commission was considering the cases through proper legal procedures under Section 92 of the organic law on political parties.

TRC supporters have argued the EC is at risk of resorting to double standards in handling the case against their party. They insisted the commission had forwarded the case to the Constitutional Court without any prior investigation.

On Feb 14, the court accepted the EC's request for a hearing to dissolve the TRC for nominating Princess Ubolratana as its prime ministerial candidate. The court asked the TRC to submit its 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 parties, which allows the EC to propose the dissolution of a party if it has obtained enough evidence that the party committed an act deemed hostile to the monarchy.

His Majesty the King's command reaffirmed that members of the royal family are above politics and cannot hold political positions.

In its petition, the EC asked the court to ban TRC executives from voting and running in elections for a minimum of 10 years, or even life.

Meanwhile this week, Seri Ruam Thai Party leader Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, and key TRC member Ruangkrai Leekitwattana petitioned the EC to disband the PPRP.

Pol Gen Sereepisuth accused the PPRP of undermining the constitutional monarchy by nominating Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as its candidate for prime minister.

Gen Prayut led the May 22, 2014 coup and tore up the 2007 constitution and these should be "grounds enough to be deemed as acts of undermining democracy", according to Pol Gen Sereepisuth.

Mr Ruangkrai earlier claimed that PPRP leader Uttama Savanayana was neither a party member nor founder, which rendered him unqualified. Under Section 16 of the political party law, the leader and executives must be members of the same party.

There are concerns that if Mr Uttama is ruled an "outsider", the PPRP may be charged for allowing others to have a say in the party's affairs, which could lead to the party being dissolved.

EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said the EC has enough evidence in the TRC case to believe the party committed an act considered to be hostile to the monarchy. But with the PPRP, the EC received only a petition from complainants. The commission needs more time to gather evidence and investigate.


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