Court to consider Move Forward cases on Nov 22

Court to consider Move Forward cases on Nov 22

Date for rulings not known but party believes more hearings will be held

Move Forward Party leader Chaithawat Tulathon is flanked by predecessor Pita Limjaroenrat (left) and party spokesman Parit Wacharasindhu following a meeting that elected Mr Chaithawat as leader on Sept 23. (Photo: Move Forward Party)
Move Forward Party leader Chaithawat Tulathon is flanked by predecessor Pita Limjaroenrat (left) and party spokesman Parit Wacharasindhu following a meeting that elected Mr Chaithawat as leader on Sept 23. (Photo: Move Forward Party)

The Constitutional Court said on Wednesday that it would continue deliberating two cases involving the Move Forward Party and its former leader on Nov 22.

The court has been asked to rule whether the country’s main opposition party and winner of the most votes in the May 14 election should be dissolved because of its policy to amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese-majeste law.

It has also been asked to rule on the MP status of former leader and prime ministerial candidate Pita Limjaroenrat because of his shareholdings in a defunct media company, the former broadcaster iTV.

It is not known whether a ruling will be issued in one or both cases next week, though Move Forward executives believe the court will want more time to review the evidence.

The court on July 19 accepted a petition submitted by the Election Commission against Mr Pita in the iTV shares case, and he was ordered suspended as an MP the same day pending a ruling. He subsequently stepped down as the party leader.

Mr Pita was given two extensions of 30 days each to submit his defence, and the court has conducted a total of 12 hearings, including one on Wednesday, related to the case.

The case against the party was filed on July 12 by lawyer Thirayuth Suwannagasorn. He is best known for representing Phra Buddha Isara, a monk who was a key agitator in the Bangkok Shutdown protests that led to the 2014 military coup. He was later defrocked and is now known as Suwit Thongprasert.

Mr Thirayuth argued that Mr Pita and Move Forward violated Section 49 of the Constitution with their proposal to amend Section 112, an action that represents an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

Move Forward’s predecessor, the Future Forward Party, was dissolved by the charter court in 2020 over a loan that its then-leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit extended to the party.

Mr Pita in July questioned the motive of the EC for continuing to investigate his shareholding in iTV after an inquiry panel recommended it drop the case.

He said the poll body’s decision to proceed to the charter court looked like “intentional political persecution”.

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