Move Forward pokes holes in poll body's case
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Move Forward pokes holes in poll body's case

Party says law obliges Election Commission to gather evidence before filing complaint with Constitutional Court

The motto “Honest, Transparent, Fair” is seen on the window of the Election Commission office in Bangkok.
The motto “Honest, Transparent, Fair” is seen on the window of the Election Commission office in Bangkok.

The Move Forward Party (MFP) insisted on Friday that the Election Commission’s complaint seeking its dissolution is flawed as it did not properly follow the steps prescribed in the organic law on political parties.

The main opposition party was responding to the clarification issued by the EC on Thursday after critics said the dissolution case had skipped an important step, namely fact-finding and a thorough investigation.

According to EC member Pakorn Mahannop, the commission’s decision was based on Section 92, not Section 93, of the organic law. The former authorises the poll body to file a request with the Constitutional Court to disband a party without conducting an inquiry.

Move Forward leader Chaithawat Tulathon, however, emphasised that Sections 92 and 93 are related and the EC was required to give the party a chance to defend itself before forwarding the case to the Constitutional Court.

Section 92 states that when there is credible evidence that any political party has carried out acts deemed to undermine the constitutional monarchy, the EC should file a petition with the Constitutional Court to dissolve that party.

Section 93 states that the political party registrar, when discovering such acts, should gather facts and evidence and present it to the EC for consideration, which would follow the rules and methods specified by the commission.

Mr Chaithawat said the commission’s explanation that the dissolution case is being sought under Section 92 is “problematic”. To dissolve a party under Section 92, the EC must follow Section 93, he said.

The EC’s decision to ask the court to disband the party followed the court’s ruling on Jan 31 that Move Forward’s ongoing efforts to change Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese-majeste law, indicated an intention to undermine the constitutional monarchy.

Mr Chaithawat pointed out that even a pickpocket who is caught red-handed must be subject to an investigative process before the case is forwarded to the prosecution.

“Dissolving a political party is a major move that requires fact-finding and investigation. The EC must follow the letter of the law rather than simply interpreting it,” he said.

He contends that the Jan 31 court ruling does not necessarily spare the EC from carrying out its own fact-finding and evidence-gathering process.

“We must not confuse the [evidence-gathering](#) process with whether or not the evidence is credible,” he said, adding that the party would raise this point in its defence.

The court has scheduled the next hearing in the case on Tuesday.

Pita Limjaroenrat, the former Move Forward leader and now its chief adviser, said that when the EC proceeded with its dissolution case against the now-defunct Future Forward Party in 2020, it was allowed to use the 2017 regulations, which involved the investigative process for criminal cases. The court said the EC was not required to follow every step.

However, they were replaced in 2024 by new regulations on fact-finding and evidence-gathering, and so the EC is obliged to follow these rules when seeking to dissolve a party under Sections 92 and 93, said Mr Pita.

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