Pannika dodges rally questions

Pannika dodges rally questions

Pannika Wanich, spokeswoman of the Future Forward Movement, speaks to supporters in Bangkok on Sunday. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Pannika Wanich, spokeswoman of the Future Forward Movement, speaks to supporters in Bangkok on Sunday. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

Peaceful political gatherings and street rallies are a right guaranteed by the constitution, said Pannika Wanich, spokeswoman of the Future Forward Movement formed in the wake of last week's dissolution of the opposition Future Forward Party.

She was responding to questions as to whether members of the dissolved party, which has given way to the new group, would take to the streets to call for justice after the party's disbandment.

"Whether we take to the streets or not, I don't want anyone to picture it as something terrible or something that will cause the unrest. As previously witnessed, our gatherings had been peaceful and didn't cause any disturbance to the society in general," she said.

The group exercised its civil rights within the scope of the law, she said.

The Future Forward Movement would pick up where it had left off as a party and will continue to encourage people to think about issues that matter in society, she said.

Ms Pannika added the group would not abandon the FFP's ideology which the party took to last year's general election where it won over six million votes, she said. The aim of making a foray into parliament had been achieved, she said.

The FFP's policies would also continue to be implemented, she added.

She said it was now up to the FFP MPs of the dissolved party what parties they might want to join within the 30-day deadline stipulated by the law. However, she hoped they would stick together and move in the same direction.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry responded to concerns including those made by the US over the dissolution of the FFP. Thailand noted the interest of some countries in the case which led to the dissolution of the FFP by the Constitutional Court on Feb 21, it said.

The ruling was carried out in accordance with the country's constitutional process, including the organic law on political parties without prejudice to the nature of offence or its perpetrators, it said.

It should also be noted in this context that the constitution did pass a referendum and served as the guiding legal principle for all political parties that participated in the previous general election.

"While remaining committed to strengthening democratic values and political pluralism, we trust all friends of Thailand would, in full respect of our sovereignty, render the usual support to the exercise of the country's supreme law of the land just as we do in reciprocity with all members of international community," read the statement.

On Saturday, the US Embassy in Bangkok said the court decision risked disenfranchising the party's voters and raised questions about their representation within Thailand's electoral system.

It said the US strongly supports democratic governance around the world, and appreciates Thailand's recent seating of a democratically elected government. The US does not favour any party, but noted that more than six million voters chose the FFP.

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