The election campaign trail is getting rockier, with a lawyer seeking to dissolve the Pheu Thai Party while the junta has pressed more charges against Future Forward.
Anat Chang-in, a lawyer based in Loei province, on Friday filed a complaint with provincial Election Commission officials, together with a video clip as evidence.
He claimed that Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, the party’s chief strategist and prime ministerial candidate, while addressing the crowd during a rally in Loei on Feb 24, misled people about her popularity and that of her party.
The offence is punishable under the 2018 MP election law.
“Khunying Sudarat announced that if people vote for Pheu Thai, they will get Mr Lertsak Pattanchaikul as MP, herself as prime minister and Mrs Sukklai Chansawang, who is a provincial administration councillor, as a party-list MP,” said Mr Anat.
“After checking, I didn’t find Mrs Sukklai on Pheu Thai’s 97-member party list. This shows Khunying Sudarat and Pheu Thai simply tried to ride on the popularity of Mrs Sukklai, who is a multiple-time provincial councillor and a well-respected figure in the province, to falsely mislead people to vote for her candidate.”
Mr Anat also asked the EC to consider disbanding Pheu Thai, which is once again expected to win more seats than any other party on March 24.
Also on Friday, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) filed another complaint with computer crime police against the Future Forward Party. This time its webmaster is being accused of uploading a video clip that the regime said contained false information that may undermine national security or frighten people under the Computer Crime Act and the Criminal Code.
The clip shows party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul reading a statement on the disbandment of the Thai Raksa Chart Party which took place on Thursday.
Thai Raksa Chart is the third political party affiliated with fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra to be dissolved by the Constitutional Court since May 2008.
The statement read by Mr Piyabutr said that a political party, which allows people with the same ideology to acquire state power through policies chosen by voters, is an important element under democratic rule.
However, it said, efforts have been made over the past 13 years to use laws as a political tool, which causes people to raise questions about the use of power by independent bodies and the Constitutional Court, leading to an impasse where no resolution is acceptable for both sides.
“Disbanding a party 17 days ahead of the election will affect the poll,” the statement continued. “It eliminates the chance of a party to compete and destroys the intention of people who will vote for it. It also undermines people’s confidence that the election will be free and fair.
“The use of judicial review for more than a decade did not ease conflicts. Instead, it opens to question the checks and balances, leading to deep polarisation.
“Future Forward believes it is important to amend the constitution to rebalance relations between all institutions and urges people to vote on March 24 to resist power succession by the NCPO,” said Mr Piyabutr. “They should prove they are invincible even with all the mechanisms embedded in the charter and the laws.”