Pheu Thai Party expects to face ban
The Pheu Thai Party is facing the prospect of being banned by the coup-makers, according to a source in the former ruling party.
The Pheu Thai source said party key figures have assessed the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) wants to end the colour-coded political divide and dissolving political parties may be part of the junta's mission.
The source said the Election Commission (EC) has received several complaints seeking the dissolution of the Pheu Thai and Democrat parties.
The commission is handling dissolution cases including those against Pheu Thai in connection with alleged unlawful attempts in parliament to rewrite the constitution and pass an amnesty bill.
The Democrats also face a dissolution petition filed by Pheu Thai on the ground its members appeared on the rally stages of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, which was protesting against the Yingluck Shinawatra government. They were accused of siding with the protesters and aiding acts of insurrection.
The source believed the NCPO is likely to use the EC findings into the party dissolution cases as a basis to issue announcements to dissolve the parties.
The source added the EC is also expected to seek the return of financial aid given to political parties under the EC's party development fund as the junta does not allow the parties to engage in political activity.
Pheu Thai could be ordered to return more than 100 million baht to the EC while more than 90 million baht is expected to be recalled from the Democrats, the source said.
The source also said the military needs to be sure various factions inside Pheu Thai can no longer band together, adding it will also try to curb their political activities by threatening to suspend their financial transactions and inspect taxes retroactively.
The source said some key Pheu Thai figures and politicians of the former Thai Rak Thai Party are working together to set up a new party if Pheu Thai is dissolved.
The new party may be similar to the no-longer-active Samakkhitham Party which was set up to support the generals who removed prime minister Chatichai Choonhavan in the February 1991 coup.
It could also be similar to the Matchimatipathai Party set up after the Sept 19, 2006 coup, which was allegedly manipulated by the coup-makers at the time, the source said.