Courts to hear 4 key cases
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Courts to hear 4 key cases

Senate poll ruling expected tomorrow

The political temperature is expected to rise a notch tomorrow (Tuesday) as the Constitutional Court begins its deliberation of three political cases, while the Office of Attorney-General (OAG) is set to indict former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on a lese majeste charge.

While all four cases are bound to have ramifications on the political landscape, only one case will be concluded tomorrow with the Constitutional Court set to hand down a ruling. The case involves the constitutionality of four provisions in the Senate election law.

The court said last week it had obtained enough information to make a ruling tomorrow which will decide if the ongoing Senate election process will proceed or be invalidated. The final phase of the election will be held on June 26.

The other two cases, which concern the fate of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and the opposition Move Forward Party (MFP), are expected to take a while before decisions are made.

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Monday played down the implications of the court’s much-anticipated decisions in these cases.

He said the government cannot interfere with these cases and no matter what the rulings are, the government must carry on with its work and maintain national stability.

Mr Anutin, leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, also dismissed as unlikely remarks made by Pannika Wanich, a key Progressive Movement member, that the MFP might join hands with Bhumjaithai, rather than the Pheu Thai Party, after the next election or if there was political change before then.

“There won’t be any changes in the political camp. The current government remains strong with more than 300 MPs. We work in harmony and support each other,” he said.

Mr Anutin said he expects to see Mr Srettha, who is on sick leave due to Covid-19, on Wednesday at parliament when the House debates the budget bill for the 2025 fiscal year.

Pakornwut Udompipatsakul, an MFP list-MP, said the party has made no preparations for Tuesday’s court proceedings because the court is not scheduled to hand down a ruling.

“But we’re waiting to see if the court will allow an inquiry. If it is allowed, the party’s legal team will make preparations,” he said.

The party has accused the Election Commission (EC) of failing to properly follow steps prescribed in the organic law on parties when seeking to disband the party. It has asked the court to conduct an inquiry into the matter before handing down its decision.

Of the four major cases, Thaksin’s lese majeste case attracts most public attention. He is scheduled to meet prosecutors on Tuesday so he can be formally indicted in the Criminal Court.

Winyat Chartmontri, Thaksin’s lawyer, confirmed on Monday the ex-premier will attend the indictment hearing amid rumours he might try to postpone proceedings for a second time.

Earlier, Thai Pakdee Party leader Warong Dechgitvigrom predicted Thaksin would not be present in court, claiming the former prime minister had been admitted to hospital.

Chief government whip Wisut Chainarun on Monday expressed confidence Thaksin would be bailed because several other lese majeste suspects have been granted bail.

He also said the public should concern themselves with the House debate on the budget expenditure bill instead of whether Thaksin will turn up to face indictment.

Meanwhile, Courts of Justice spokesman Sorawit Limparangsri said on Monday the Judicial Commission has been informed of reports circulating on social media about attempts to interfere with judicial proceedings to secure bail for a certain suspect. He said the Supreme Court president has been asked to set up a panel to gather the facts about the reports and the public will be given an update if there is progress.

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