11 July 2024

The charter court convened today and set the date for the first hearing in the opposition Move Forward Party’s dissolution case, submitted by the Election Commission (EC), for July 3.

The EC has also asked the court to debar the party’s executive members from politics, alleging that the party had attempted to overthrow the Constitutional Monarchy and acted in a way deemed hostile to it.

The EC submitted a petition to the Court on March 18, seeking the dissolution of the Move Forward party and the debarring of the party’s executive members from politics, in accordance with Section 92 (1) and (2) of the Political Parties Act.

The EC unanimously decided, on March 12, that there was enough evidence to support dissolution of the party and submitted its case to the Constitutional Court.

This followed the court’s January 31 ruling, that Pita Limjaroenrat, former Move Forward party leader, and the party itself had exercised their rights and liberties in an attempt to overthrow the Constitutional Monarchy, by proposing amendments to Section 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse majesté law), and had adopted the amendments as an election campaign pledge.

On June 4, Move Forward submitted its rebuttal statement to the court, insisting that it has no intention to topple the constitutional monarchy and that has not committed the offences as charged.

On June 9, Pita outlined the party’s nine-point defence, which includes a challenge to the jurisdiction and authority of the Constitutional Court and the legitimacy of the EC’s complaint.

He claimed that the court has no jurisdiction in the case and has no authority to dissolve the party or to banish its executive committee members from politics, because the Constitution does not grant it such powers.

The EC’s complaint to the court is also illegitimate, because the Move Forward party was not given a chance to defend itself against the charge that it attempted to overthrow the constitutional monarchy, claimed Pita, adding that the January ruling is not legally bound to the current case.

Disbanding a political party must be the last resort and such a penalty must only be imposed if it is absolutely necessary and with great caution, said Pita, adding that such a penalty does not serve to protect democracy.

Political parties, said the Move Forward advisory chief, are an important element of democracy.