Requests for Move Forward Party disbandment filed

Requests for Move Forward Party disbandment filed

Petitioner Ruangkrai Leekitwattana speaks to reporters at the Office of the Election Commission on Thursday. (Screenshot from the 3Plus News Facebook page)
Petitioner Ruangkrai Leekitwattana speaks to reporters at the Office of the Election Commission on Thursday. (Screenshot from the 3Plus News Facebook page)

Petitioner Ruangkrai Leekitwattana on Thursday filed a petition with the Election Commission (EC), asking it to pursue the Constitutional Court's dissolution of the Move Forward Party.

The petition comes in response to the court's recent ruling that the main opposition party’s continuous efforts to change the lese-majeste law indicated an intention to undermine the constitutional monarchy.

Mr Ruangkrai said that he based his petition on Section 92 of the organic law on political parties.

The section stipulates that the charter court can disband any political party that acts against or seeks to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

The court's ruling on Wednesday highlighted Move Forward's attempts to destroy the constitutional monarchy through its previous proposal to amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code, commonly known as the lese-majeste law, and its maintained policy for the amendment.

Mr Ruangkrai said he also asked the EC to seek the court's ruling on whether Move Forward executives should be banned from running in elections due to the same wrongdoing. He said he would also file a related petition with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

The former senator said he was gathering evidence and would decide whether to file a similar petition against the coalition-core Pheu Thai Party.

Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin had mentioned the amendment of Section 112 during their vote campaigns, Mr Ruangkrai said.

Mr Ruangkrai was responsible for filing the petition in 2008 that led to the resignation of then-prime minister Samak Sundaravej, of the People Power Party, the predecessor of Pheu Thai. Samak was found in breach of the law for accepting an honorarium for hosting a TV cooking show.

While Mr Ruangkrai was speaking with reporters at the EC office, two well-known democracy activists who are facing lese-majeste charges arrived to stage a protest.

Tantawan Tuatulanon and Orawan Phuphong, kneeling with their wrists bound and another rope linking their necks, placed a poster on the floor that asked people to choose whether they favoured amending Section 112.

The two young women last year staged a 52-day hunger strike to press for bail for people detained in political cases. (Story continues below)

Activists Tantawan Tuatulanon (right) and Orawan Phuphong kneel with their wrists bound and another rope linking their necks, while a poster on the floor asks people to choose whether they favour amending Section 112, during a protest on Thursday at the Election Commission office in Bangkok. (Photo: Khai Maew Cheese Facebook)

The EC also received a petition on Thursday from lawyer Teerayut Suwankesorn. He is the person who had asked the Constitutional Court last year to halt Move Forward's attempts to amend or abolish Section 112.

Mr Teerayut said the court's ruling on Wednesday obliged the EC to take action against Move Forward.

The lawyer also expresseed his intention to ask the NACC on Friday to investigate the alleged serious ethical violation of former Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat and 43 other Move Forward MPs who submitted their bill for Section 112 amendment.

MPs are required by law to meet ethical standards, including the safeguarding of the royal institution. Failure to do so is considered as serious ethical violation, resulting in the restriction of the wrongdoers' rights to participate in any election and the suspension of their electoral rights for a period of 10 years.

In another development, the Move Forward Party on Thursday removed the details of its policy to amend the lese-majeste law from its website

The move was in response to an order by the Constitutional Court that the party cease all activity seen as advocating for changes to Section 112 in all public forums, including online.

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