Election Commission submits more docs for Move Forward case
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Election Commission submits more docs for Move Forward case

Says 'no need to present witness list'

The Move Forward Party holds a press conference at parliament on Jan 31. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
The Move Forward Party holds a press conference at parliament on Jan 31. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

The Election Commission (EC) has submitted additional documents in a petition seeking to disband the opposition Move Forward Party (MFP), as called for by the Constitutional Court.

EC secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee said the EC had supplied the documents related to legal issues in the case to the court on Friday.

He said there was no need to present a list of witnesses because the court's previous ruling on the party's stance on the lese majeste law provided enough grounds for the EC to pursue the case against the MFP.

Mr Sawaeng also brushed aside criticism by the MFP that the EC move seeking the dissolution of the MFP is flawed as it does not properly follow the steps prescribed in the organic law on political parties.

Objecting to the EC's approach, MFP leader Chaithawat Tulathon on Friday said dissolving a party is a major move which requires fact-finding and an investigation. The EC must follow the letter of the law rather than simply interpreting it, he said.

The opposition party was reacting to the clarification made by the EC on Thursday amid criticism the dissolution case had skipped these steps.

In response, Mr Sawaeng said on Saturday: "Let's wait for a ruling from the court".

The EC submitted a petition in March asking the court to rule on dissolving the party. It was responding to the court's ruling on Jan 31 that the MFP's efforts to change Section 112 indicated an intention to undermine the constitutional monarchy.

Based on the ruling, the EC argued the party violated Section 92 of the organic law on political parties. The section gives the court the power to dissolve any party seen as threatening the constitutional monarchy.

The court accepted the petition for hearing on April 3.

The EC asked the court to disband the party, revoke the rights of party executives to stand for election and prohibit anyone who loses those rights from registering or serving as executives of a new party for 10 years, under Sections 92 and 94 of the law.

The amendments proposed by the MFP included a requirement that any lese majeste complaint must be filed by the Bureau of the Royal Household.

Currently, any individual or group can file a royal defamation complaint against anyone else, and police are obliged to investigate it.

As a result, the party has said, the law has been used by politicians and other authority figures to stifle dissenting opinions.

The party has also called for reduced sentences for lese majeste convictions.

A conviction under Section 112 currently carries a sentence of between three and 15 years.

Courts often cite the severity of the offence as the reason for denying bail to people awaiting trial or appealing their convictions.

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