Court accepts petition for dissolution of Move Forward
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Court accepts petition for dissolution of Move Forward

Pita Limjaroenrat, left, former leader of the Move Forward Party and now chief adviser, and MFP leader Chaithawat Tulanon, right, hold a press conference at parliament after the Constitutional Court ruled against its lese majesty reform policy on Jan 31. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
Pita Limjaroenrat, left, former leader of the Move Forward Party and now chief adviser, and MFP leader Chaithawat Tulanon, right, hold a press conference at parliament after the Constitutional Court ruled against its lese majesty reform policy on Jan 31. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

The Constitutional Court has accepted for hearing a petition by the Election Commission (EC) for the dissolution of the Move Forward Party (MFP), and given the main opposition party 15 days to file its defence.

The EC’s political party registrar is seeking the dissolution of the MFP.

The court released the results of its initial deliberation on Wednesday.

It said the commission claims to have evidence the party had acted in a way suggesting it wanted to overthrow the democratic regime of the government with HM the King as Head of State. According to the election agency, the party's action was hostile and in violation of Section 92 of the organic law on political parties. 

The petitioner requested the court to disband the party, revoke the rights of the party’s executives to stand for election and prohibit them and those whose rights to stand  for election are revoked from registering a new party or serving as executives of a new party for 10 years, under Sections 92 and 94 of the organic law on political parties.

The court accepted the petition and asked the MFP to submit its defence to the court within 15 days, according to the court announcement.

On March 12, the EC’s political party registrar submitted a petition for the MFP's dissolution, after the court ruled on Jan 31 that the MFP’s ongoing efforts to change Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as  the lese majeste law, indicated an intention to undermine the constitutional monarchy.

Based on the ruling, the EC argues the MFP violated Section 92 of the organic law on political parties. The section gives the court the power to dissolve any party that is seen to threaten the constitutional monarchy.

In its ruling on Jan 31, the court also ordered the MFP to cease all attempts to rewrite Section 112. It said campaigning on the issue is considered an attempt to end the constitutional monarchy and violates Section 49 of the constitution.

The MFP's proposed amendments included a requirement that any lese majeste complaint must be filed by the Royal Household Bureau, not by politicians and others. It also called for reduced sentences.

The judges, in  their opinion, pointed to the past actions of Pita Limjaroenrat, the party's former leader, as well as those by the MFP in general, including its applications for the release on bail of suspects in lese majeste cases.

Forty-four of the party's MPs, including its chief adviser Mr Pita, could face a political ban for life as they are now the subject of a probe into whether they breached the House code of ethics in their campaign to amend the lese majeste law.

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