Thai Raksa Chart awaits Constitutional Court’s verdict on its fate
All eyes are today focused on the Constitutional Court, which is due to deliver its verdict on the fate of the Thai Raksa Chart party at about 3pm.
Thai Raksa Chart, an offshoot of the Pheu Thai party, has suspended political activities as its key members converge on the court and others are glued to TV screens at the party’s HQ to hear the verdict live.
Due to concerns about protests breaking out, the Metropolitan Police Bureau has imposed a ban on public gatherings within 50-metres of the court compound and around the Supreme Court on Chaengwattana Road. Security in and around the court compound has been tightened.
An informed court source said that the verdict will simply be an order to either dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart party or to dismiss the case, brought by the Election Commission for allegedly committing hostile acts against a constitutional democratic system in nominating Princess Ubolratana, a member of the Royal Family, as its sole prime ministerial candidate.
A simple majority decision from the nine judges is required in order to reach a verdict.
A verdict to disband the party would mean that all 14 executive committee members of the party will be banished from politics for at least 10 years, or life, depending on the severity of their alleged offence as ruled by the court. Additionally, all the party ‘s 251 election candidates – 108 party-list and 143 constituency candidates – will automatically lose their party memberships, which will effectively disqualify them from contesting the March 24th election.
In the event they are disqualified, candidates cannot switch to other parties and any ballots cast for the Thai Raksa Chart Party will be regarded as invalid.
In a related development, the Supreme Administrative Court has upheld the Central Administrative Court’s ruling rejecting a petition by Mr. Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a party-list candidate for and legal advisor to the Thai Raksa Chart party, challenging the Election Commission’s dissolution ruling and demanding the Constitutional Court postpone the reading of its verdict.