Thanathorn asks judges if they want Thailand trapped in cycle of coups and civilian rule

Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has asked Constitution Court judges if they want to see Thailand trapped in a vicious cycle of civilian government and military rule, or to move forward to real democracy.

The question was raised in his written closing statement, in defense of his media shareholding case, submitted to the Constitutional Court on Thursday and disclosed to the media today by Thanathorn.

In the statement, the embattled Future Forward party leader insisted that the V Luck Media Company, in which he once held a substantial stake, had ceased operation on November 26th last year, before the Royal Decree on January 23rd this year announcing the March 24th general election.

He added that V Luck Media was, in fact, not a media company, citing the fact that the company produced the last edition of “Who” magazine in October 2016, produced an in-flight magazine for Nok Air airline and “Wealth” magazine for Siam Commercial Bank.

He also cited a Constitutional Court ruling in a media share case concerning the Future Forward MP for Sakhon Nakhon province, which states that the memorandum of association and list of the founding members of a company were not enough to prove media share ownership, which requires evidence that the company had earned revenue from media operations as well.

In the statement, Thanathorn said that the magazines produced by V Luck Media Company did not concern politics and, hence, could not render political advantage or disadvantage to anybody.

On the issue of fairness, Thanathorn alleged that the Election Commission (EC) submitted his case to the Constitutional Court on May 16th, before an investigation by an EC panel was completed and before the panel was scheduled to question witnesses on May 22nd.

Writing rhetorically as to why he was in front of the court, Thanathorn said it was definitely not about media ownership, but because he dared to challenge the perpetuation of power by the military junta.

“I have a dream that everybody is equal and there is rule of law, a dream of Thailand being prosperous and with no more coups. Is having these dreams a cardinal sin?” he asked in his statement. To fulfil his dreams, he said set up the Future Forward party in accordance with the law, adding that his party wants to amend the Constitution through peaceful means.

Before ending his statement, he addressed the Constitutional Court judges, saying “Several judges are over 70 and have gone through several coups, while I was born in 1978 and have been through four coups.  Do we want society to carry on like this? It is about time to review our history over the past ten years. It is about time we make some noise and guide our society out of this cycle.”

He announced that he will accept whatever ruling the charter court delivers on November 20th, adding that he has no ‘Plan B’ and there is no going back in his political career. 

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