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World Thai Court Disbands Opposition Party, Boosting Army-Backed Ruler

11:30  21 february  2020
11:30  21 february  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

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A court in Thailand ordered the dissolution of Future Forward, a pro-democracy opposition party that became the highest-profile critic of the nation’s military-backed government. Randy Thanthong-Knight. Updated on. Thai Court Disbands Opposition Party , Boosting Army - Backed Ruler .

Thailand ’s second-largest opposition party faces possible dissolution Friday after repeatedly attacking the country’s military- backed government for resisting democratic change. The Constitutional Court will rule on an Election Commission petition that Future Forward should be disbanded for violating party

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Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit watches court proceedings with fellow members and MPs at the political partys headquarters in Bangkok on February 21, 2020. - Thailand's Constitutional Court is set to rule on Future Forward Party's dissolution over a loan from its billionaire leader. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP) (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images) Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit watches court proceedings with fellow members and MPs at the political partys headquarters in Bangkok on February 21, 2020. - Thailand's Constitutional Court is set to rule on Future Forward Party's dissolution over a loan from its billionaire leader. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP) (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

A court in Thailand ordered the dissolution of Future Forward, a pro-democracy opposition party that became the highest-profile critic of the nation’s military-backed government.

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Thai Court Says Opposition Party Not Guilty of Seeking to Oust Monarchy. Thai royalists have disbanded multiple pro-democracy political parties over the past two decades, spurring a cycle of destabilization that contributed to slower economic growth compared with neighbors such as

(Bloomberg) -- Thailand ’s highest-profile opposition party will face two cases in the Constitutional Court that could lead to its dissolution as early as next month and strengthen the military- backed government’s grip on power.The court accepted a new petition from the Election Commission on the

The Constitutional Court ruled Friday that loans of 191.2 million baht ($6 million) to the party from Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, a 41-year-old former tycoon, breached financing rules. He and other party leaders were banned from politics for 10 years.

The ruling may be a boon for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s ruling coalition, which is expected to expand its slim parliamentary majority by poaching some of the 76 Future Forward lawmakers that must join new parties. While Thanathorn has said he expects most to switch to a planned Future Forward replacement, even a few defections would strengthen Prayuth.

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand 's Constitutional Court on Wednesday disqualified the leader of an opposition party and fierce government critic from Future Forward is part of an opposition alliance that disputed the vote count and accused the army of writing the electoral rules to ensure that Prime

The constitutional court disbanded a different anti-military opposition party linked to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra right before the March vote. Thanathorn's main rival is Thai premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha, a general who led the coup in 2014 and was voted in as civilian premier with the help of

“The government seems to be preparing a team to poach these lawmakers already,” said Punchada Sirivunnabood, an associate professor in politics at Mahidol University near Bangkok. “It would only need a few more seats to ensure its strength and stability.”

Thanathorn said in an interview Thursday that a new party has already been set up in preparation for dissolution, adding that “the majority of our lawmakers will stick with the ideology and move to our new home together.” He also signaled Future Forward’s break up could spark more demonstrations amid disgruntlement with the government.

Protests

“Protest might be the only thing left to do, though nobody wants to have to resort to that,” he said.

The Thai stock market extended losses after the court ruling and was down 0.5% as of 4:05 p.m. in Bangkok.

Future Forward was less than two years old but became the second-largest opposition party after a disputed general election in March last year. It attracted younger voters to a reformist agenda that included rewriting the military-backed constitution, breaking up oligopolies and preventing coups in a country with a long history of military takeovers.

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Thailand 's Consitutional Court on Friday disbanded the opposition Future Forward party . The court ruled the pro-democracy party had broken electoral law by taking an illegal loan from its founder. more to come

Thailand 's Constitutional Court is to decide on Tuesday whether to dissolve the opposition Future Forward Party , in a ruling that could strengthen the The case is based on a complaint that claims the party is seeking to overthrow the revered constitutional monarchy and is linked to the Illuminati, a

It’s the latest to be dissolved by Thailand’s royalist establishment, which disbanded multiple pro-democracy parties over the past two decades, stoking a cycle of protests and political destabilization that has hampered the economy.

a screenshot of a video game: Thai expansion has persistently lagged Asean amid turbulent politics © Bloomberg Thai expansion has persistently lagged Asean amid turbulent politics

Thousands of people rallied in December and January either in support of Future Forward, or to protest against the government. But overall political tension remains lower than during Thailand’s past episodes of bloody street unrest.

Thanathorn criticized Prayuth’s coalition for failing to heal divisions and being unresponsive to people’s needs. He rejected the string of legal cases against him and the party as an attempt to cow dissent.

Army Chief

Prayuth, a former army chief, seized power in a coup in 2014, led the subsequent military government and returned as premier in July under electoral rules crafted during the junta’s tenure.

Future Forward was spared dissolution last month after being acquitted of trying to oust the monarchy, which sits at the summit of power in Thailand.

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The party’s savvy social media promotion of its agenda for change rattled the country’s power brokers. Last year, army chief Apirat Kongsompong attacked opposition parties, including Future Forward, for criticizing “the military as being an obstacle to democracy, when in fact we work for every Thai citizen.”

In October, some 70 lawmakers from Future Forward voted against an emergency decree passed by parliament to transfer some army units to King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s command. Their opposition stunned a nation that treats top royals as semi-divine and edicts related to them as sacrosanct.

Vajiralongkorn is head of state in Thailand’s constitutional monarchy and has repeatedly displayed his authority since taking the throne in 2016. The country has strict lese-majeste laws that criminalize insults against top members of the royal family. Future Forward said it was loyal to the monarchy.

(Updates stock market reaction in the seventh paragraph.)

--With assistance from Suttinee Yuvejwattana and Natnicha Chuwiruch.

To contact the reporter on this story: Siraphob Thanthong-Knight in Bangkok at rthanthongkn@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Jagtiani at sjagtiani@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten Kate

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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