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The election winner must disappear!
After the Thai courts cleared the charges against both Pita Limjaroenrat and Ruckchanok Srinork, another member of the Move Forward Party has come under fire. According to the Thai military, Jirat Thongsuwan, a Chachoengsao MP, was evading the mandatory conscription.
Thai PBS World: Axe hangs over Thailand’s reform movement as Move Forward faces judgment day
Prachatai: Pita cleared in media shareholding case, returns to parliament
Prachatai: Court dismisses defamation lawsuit against Move Forward MP
Bangkok Post: Doubt cast on MFP MP's conscription exemption
Bangkok Post: Military denies targeting MP over Prayut house inspection
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on January 30th:
It is impossible for Move Forward Party Chachoengsao MP Jirat Thongsuwan to have participated in a lot-drawing procedure for military conscription after receiving a suspended jail sentence for failing to appear for conscription, said Lt. Gen. Taweepool Rimsakorn, commanding general of the Territorial Defense Command (TDC).
Lt. Gen. Taweepool said Jirat attended his first conscription call-up in 2009 and requested conscription clemency, which was granted. He followed the procedures to renew this clemency annually until 2012 when he failed to report to TDC on time.
Jirat asserted that when he arrived late for the extension, authorities prosecuted him, resulting in a fine from the Chachoengsao Provincial Court. After paying the fine, he underwent a lot-drawing procedure where he selected a black card exempting him from military service, he added.
However, Lt. Gen. Taweepool refuted Jirat's claim, asserting that Jirat inaccurately stated arriving late for the extension in 2011. According to Lt. Gen. Taweepool, the correct information is that Jirat received a one-month jail sentence in 2012, later reduced to a one-year suspended term due to a confession.
Lt. Gen. Taweepool contended that it is implausible for Jirat to have participated in a lot-drawing procedure after the court's ruling. According to procedures, he was expected to appear for service the following year in 2013, but he did not show up.
Lt. Gen. Taweepool also said that the TDC has found all three copies of Jirat's Sor Dor 43 document under his previous name, Nawarin, which indicated that he did not take part in a lot-drawing process because all three copies are still with the TDC.
Lt. Gen. Taweepool said the Sor Dor 43 document Jirat showed to the press is most likely forged.
Move Forward Party Chachoengsao MP Jirat Thongsuwan vowed to resign as an MP if it was proven that he had forged his Sor Dor 43 document, as the army has claimed.
He said he is willing to provide his copy of the document to the Territorial Defense Command to check for forgery after its commanding general, Lt. Gen. Taweepool Rimsakorn, said the TDC had found all three copies of Jirat's Sor Dor 43 document under his previous name, Nawarin, in its archive. Lt. Gen. Taweepool said this showed that Jirat did not take part in a lot-drawing procedure, which he claimed he did, and it also indicated that the copy that Jirat has been showing to the media is a forged document.
When asked whether the reason for the mix-up was that he paid a bribe to obtain the Sor Dor 43 document, Jirat denied the accusation, emphasizing that he is neither rich nor well-connected to have the audacity to make such a move. He insisted that he has followed regulations.
Move Forward Party ordered to stop pushing for Lese Majeste Law Reform
Order of the Charter Court
On January 31st, 2024, Thailand's Constitutional Court ordered the Move Forward Party and its leaders to stop any attempts at Lese Majeste law reform.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on January 31st:
Charter Court Ordered Pita & MFP to Stop Pushing for Lese Majeste Law Reform. Charter Court ruled Weds MFP & its then leader Pita Limjaroenrat have violated seeking to overthrow pol system by pledging to the electorate to amend royal defamation law.
Amending lese majeste law would reduce protection of the monarchy. Charter Court argues violating lese majeste law affects national security but MFP seeks to reduce the severity of the crime.
The Court adds Pita & party have the intention of "separating the monarchy institution from Thai Nation" because if amended as proposed by the party, "royal defamation crime will no longer be a crime against nat'l security".
The court thus ordered Pita and the party to stop advocating for lese majeste law reform through all means but didn't punish Pita and the party further.
Thai PBS World: Court rules Move Forward attempted to topple constitutional monarchy
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on January 31st:
The Move Forward Party (MFP) asserts that it harbors no intention to undermine the constitutional monarchy system by separating the royal institution from the state through the amendment of the lese-majeste law, as ruled by the court, according to MFP Leader Chaithawat Tulathon.
Pita Limjaroenrat, the MFP's chairperson of its advisory board, acknowledges that the Constitutional Court may have deemed the party's attempt to amend the lese-majeste law as treasonous, but he emphasizes that the party has no such treasonous intent.
He clarifies that the attempt to amend the law was aimed at preserving Thailand as a constitutional monarchy and facilitating a political consensus for the nation's progress.
"The attempt was not an alibi or an endeavor to cause any deterioration of the monarchy, and it did not harbor any intention of separating the monarchy from national security," he states.
Limjaroenrat expresses concerns about the Constitutional Court's jurisdiction and its impact on the separation of powers, highlighting that the verdict represents a missed opportunity for Thai society to engage in a mature parliamentary discussion on this matter.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on January 31st:
Arnon Klinkeaw, leader of the United People to Protect the Monarchy, a ultra-royalist group, said Weds he's satisfied with ruling by Charter Court that seeking to amend the lese majeste law is akin to seeking to overthrow pol system. This, he adds, will protect the law "forever".
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on January 31st:
Members of a royalist group called The People's Network to Protect the Royal Institution celebrated the Constitutional Court's ruling, which mandated the Move Forward Party to cease their proposals and efforts to amend the lese-majeste law.
Thai PBS World reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on January 31st:
Move Forward leader Chaithawat Tulathan said court’s decision has dampening effect on Thailand’s democracy, freedom of expression, equilibrium between democracy and monarchy.
Bangkok Post: MFP ordered to drop plans to amend lese-majeste law
Thai PBS World: Move Forward claims Charter Court ruling will impact rights, liberties and democracy
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on January 31st:
The Constitutional Court ruled against the Move Forward Party, stating that the party's proposals and efforts to amend the lese-majeste law are considered attempts to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system.
The court issued an order for the party to halt their efforts.
The Constitutional Court's verdict may now result in a case seeking the dissolution of the Move Forward Party.
Petitions can be submitted to either the Election Commission (EC) or the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for an investigation into the party's alleged attempt to undermine the constitutional monarchy system.
If the EC determines the party's guilt, it has the authority to request the court to dissolve the party under Section 92 of the political party law.
Section 92 of the law stipulates that if a political party is found guilty of violating Section 49 of the constitution, as ruled by the Constitutional Court today, the EC can compile evidence and petition the court to contemplate dissolving the party, as well as imposing a 10-year ban on its party executives from participating in elections.
If a petition is filed with the NACC, and they ascertain that the party's actions constituted extreme ethical misconduct, the party's 44 MPs, including Pita, who submitted the party's proposals for amending the lese-majeste law could face a lifetime ban from participating in politics.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on January 31st:
The Constitutional Court ruling, stating that the Move Forward Party's attempt to amend the lese-majeste law equates to an attempt to undermine the constitutional monarchy system, does not imply that the law cannot be amended. Instead, it signifies that the law cannot be abolished, according to law lecturer Piyabutr Saengkanokkul.
The court's decision implies that any amendments must adhere to the regular legislative procedure. Additionally, it prohibits amendments that would remove its classification as a national security offense, introduce exceptions, compromise its integrity, or designate the Bureau of the Royal Household as the plaintiff.
Nevertheless, the law remains amenable to changes such as reducing the punishment, eliminating the minimum punishment requirement, distinguishing malicious intent to harm the royal family from defamation, and designating a different agency as the plaintiff, excluding the Bureau of the Royal Household.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on January 31st:
Some of the key points that the Constitutional Court provided to explain why they ruled that the Move Forward Party (MFP)'s attempt to amend the lese-majeste law was an endeavor to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system include:
- Pita Limjaroenrat and 43 other MFP MPs have the duty, power, and rights to make and amend laws, but their actions both on and offline also violated other people's rights, undermined national stability, and created unrest. This is because they allegedly harbored a hidden agenda to weaken the protection of the royal institution in order to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system with the King as the Head of State.
- The party's proposal to amend the lese-majeste law by making the royal defamation offense no longer a national security offense could be considered an attempt to separate the protection of the royal institution from national security. Such a move might be viewed as an effort to undermine the constitutional monarchy system with the King as the Head of State.
- The party's proposal to make royal defamation an offense that could be compromisable, and the suggestion that the affected party in lese-majeste complaints be the Bureau of the Royal Household instead of the state, will lower the protection for the royal institution. These actions could also be seen as an attempt to separate the royal institution from the state.
- Pita and the MFP have submitted a petition to amend the law in Parliament, used the amendment as one of its election pledges, and are still looking to amend the law as stated on their website. This indicates that the party is still seeking to amend the law with the hidden intention of weakening the protection of the royal institution.
- Pita and the MFP's attempt to amend the law has a hidden intention to undermine the King's position as a revered figure who is above politics and to compromise the King's neutrality in politics for the party's political benefits, thereby pitching the monarch against the people.
- Some MFP MPs were members of pro-democracy groups advocating for the abolishment of the lese-majeste law, and some MFP MPs have helped bail out pro-democracy activists who called for the abolishment of the law. These actions indicate that the party sought to weaken the protection of the royal institution.
- On March 24, 2023, during an election campaign stage after participating in a poll conducted by youth activists, Pita stated that the party is still looking to abolish the lese-majeste law but will push for the amendment first because abolishing the law was not feasible. If the law is abolished, the protection of the royal institution will be weakened, potentially leading to the overthrow of the constitutional monarchy system with the King as the Head of State.
- The court ordered them to cease all efforts to amend the lese-majeste law, including providing opinions through talking, writing, publishing, and advertising their proposals to amend the lese-majeste law.
Prachatai reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 1st:
"This is not just about me personally. This is not just about our party, but this is about the future. It’s about the health of Thai democracy and the political landscape going forward," said Pita Limjaroenrat, Move Forward Party MP and former leader, during a press conference yesterday (31 January).
The press conference came after the Constitutional Court ruled that the party's campaign to amend the royal defamation law counts as treason and must end.
Prachatai: Constitutional Court finds Move Forward Party’s royal defamation law amendment campaign treasonous
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 1st:
Serial petitioner Ruangkrai Leekitwattana has submitted a petition to the Election Commission (EC), urging the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Move Forward Party (MFP).
The petition follows the Constitutional Court's ruling, which deemed the MFP's attempt to amend the lese-majeste law as an effort to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system.
With this ruling, the EC is empowered to gather evidence and petition the court to consider dissolving the party, in accordance with Section 92 of the political party law.
Bangkok Post: Requests for Move Forward Party disbandment filed
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 1st:
Thailand’s Constitutional Court Halts Move Forward Party’s Lese-Majeste Amendment Efforts
In a landmark ruling, Thailand’s Constitutional Court has effectively barred the Move Forward Party (MFP) from its attempts to amend the controversial lese-majeste law, underscoring the country’s ongoing struggle between traditional royalist values and calls for democratic reforms. The court’s decision, which finds the party’s proposals to amend the law as attempts to undermine the constitutional monarchy, could precipitate significant political repercussions, including the potential dissolution of the party.
Background of the Lese-Majeste Law
Thailand’s lese-majeste law, enshrined in Article 112 of the Penal Code, makes it a criminal offense to defame, insult, or threaten the king, queen, heir-apparent, or regent. Critics argue that the law, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for each offense, is often used as a tool to stifle political dissent and silence critics of the monarchy.
The Court’s Ruling
The Constitutional Court’s verdict stems from the MFP’s public efforts to amend this law, which it argues is aimed at modernizing the monarchy’s role within a democratic society. However, the court interpreted these actions as an implicit threat to the constitutional monarchy itself. The ruling not only orders the party to cease its advocacy for amending the lese-majeste law but also sets the stage for possible legal actions that could lead to the party’s dissolution.
According to the court, the MFP’s activities, including its legislative proposals and public statements, carry a “hidden intention to weaken the protection of the royal institution,” aiming to separate the royal institution from the state. This, the court posited, could be viewed as an effort to dismantle the constitutional monarchy system with the King as the Head of State.
Potential Consequences for the Move Forward Party
The implications of the court’s ruling are profound. Under Section 92 of the political party law, if a party is found guilty of violating Section 49 of the constitution, as determined by the Constitutional Court, it can lead to the dissolution of the party. Additionally, the party’s executives could face a 10-year ban from participating in elections. Furthermore, if the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) concludes that the party’s actions constituted severe ethical misconduct, its 44 MPs, including Pita Limjaroenrat who spearheaded the proposals to amend the lese-majeste law, could be permanently barred from politi
The Move Forward Party’s Response
In the wake of the ruling, MFP leaders have articulated a stance of resilience and clarity regarding their intentions. MFP Leader Chaithawat Tulathon and the party’s chairperson of its advisory board, Pita Limjaroenrat, have both emphasized that the party’s efforts to amend the lese-majeste law were not aimed at undermining the constitutional monarchy. Instead, they argue, the initiative sought to foster political consensus and ensure the progression of Thailand as a constitutional monarchy. Limjaroenrat expressed concerns over the court’s jurisdiction and its implications for the separation of powers, framing the verdict as a missed opportunity for meaningful parliamentary discussion on the issue.
Despite the setback, Tulathon confirmed that the MFP is prepared for potential follow-up legal actions. The party is currently reviewing the full verdict to strategize its response, with a keen eye on the broader implications for democratic principles such as the right to assembly, the presumption of innocence, and the freedom of expression.
Broader Implications
The Constitutional Court’s decision underscores the delicate balance between Thailand’s revered monarchy and the push for democratic reforms. Critics of the lese-majeste law argue that its stringent application has often served to suppress free speech and has been weaponized against political opponents. The court’s ruling, therefore, not only impacts the MFP but also signals the challenges facing political parties and activists advocating for change within Thailand’s legal and political framework.
In conclusion, the Constitutional Court’s ruling against the Move Forward Party marks a critical juncture in Thailand’s political development. It not only raises questions about the limits of free speech and political activism but also highlights the challenges of reforming laws that are deeply intertwined with the nation’s identity and constitutional structure. As the MFP contemplates its next steps, the outcome of this legal and political confrontation will undoubtedly have lasting implications for the role of the monarchy in Thailand and the ongoing struggle for democratic reforms.
Thai Enquirer: Thailand’s Constitutional Court Halts Move Forward Party’s Lese-Majeste Amendment Efforts
Thai Enquirer: Editorial: Key takeaways from the Constitutional Court Decision
Bangkok Post: Ruling strikes at MFP's heart
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 1st:
BREAKING: Move Forward Party calls for an urgent meeting at 4pm Thurs in preparation for a possible party dissolution by the Constitutional Court. MPs were told to not bring their mobile phones into the room.
The move came after former senator Ruangkrai Leekitwattana filed a petition with the EC to have it ask the Constitutional Court to disband the Move Forward Party, as the court ruled on Weds pushing for the amendment of the lese majeste law is unconstitutional.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 1st:
It remains unclear whether lawmakers can still debate the lese-majeste law in parliament, according to House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha.
He said Parliament will first scrutinize the details of the Constitutional Court's ruling against the Move Forward Party (MFP) yesterday.
The court deemed the MFP's attempt to amend the lese-majeste law as equivalent to trying to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system. This conclusion is based on the belief that the party has a hidden agenda to weaken the protection of the royal institution by separating royal defamation offenses from national security offenses.
There is concern that the ruling implies MPs cannot even discuss the royal institution and the lese-majeste law in parliament. This could potentially impact the lawmaking process, including the introduction of an amnesty bill, given that both the MFP's draft and the civil sector draft propose amnesty for individuals charged with lese-majeste.
The House Speaker stated that Parliament's legal team will carefully examine the details of the court's verdict. Once they inform him and the deputy house speakers of their findings, he will be able to provide further comments on the issue.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 1st:
Senator Somchai Swangkarn has expressed support for petitions that could potentially lead to the dissolution of the Move Forward Party (MFP) and a lifetime ban on 44 MPs affiliated with the party from politics.
He said petitions can now be submitted to both the Election Commission (EC) and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
In a series of hashtags, he wrote, "Next station for Pita and Move Forward, a petition to the EC to dissolve the party and a petition to the NACC to ban them from politics for severe ethical misconduct."
The EC could be petitioned to request the Constitutional Court to dissolve the party under Section 92 of the political party law. Furthermore, the NACC could be petitioned to request the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to impose a lifetime ban on the 44 MPs who proposed a bill to amend the lese-majeste law.
The possible petition to the EC has been filed by serial petitioner Ruangkrai Leekitwattana and lawyer Theerayut Suwankesorn today. Theerayut, the lawyer who filed the petition leading to the Constitutional Court's ruling against the MFP yesterday, stated that he plans to file the potential petition for the NACC tomorrow.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 1st:
Theerayut Suwankesorn, the lawyer who filed the petition leading to the Constitutional Court's ruling against the Move Forward Party (MFP) yesterday, submitted a petition seeking to dissolve the MFP under Section 92 of the political party law today.
He also announced plans to file another petition against the MFP with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) tomorrow. This petition will urge the NACC to investigate 44 MFP MPs, including Pita Limjaroenrat, who submitted a bill to amend the lese-majeste law, citing severe ethical misconduct.
If the NACC determines that the 44 MPs severely violated political ethics by proposing the bill, they could request the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to impose a lifetime ban on these MPs from participating in politics. Theerayut compared this potential scenario to the case against former Palang Pracharath Party MP Pareena Kraikupt, noting that a swift court decision could be expected.
Theerayut, a former lawyer for Suwit Thongprasert, also known as Buddha Isara, a former co-leader of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, expressed no concern about the dissolution of the MFP leading to a resurgence of political conflict. He emphasized that amendments to the lese-majeste law are still possible, provided advocates do not harbor a hidden agenda to weaken the protection of the royal institution, akin to the accusations against the MFP in the court's ruling.
The Nation: EC asked to seek Move Forward disbandment after court verdict
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 2nd:
The Territorial Defense Command (TDC) will continue to investigate Move Forward Party Chachoengsao MP Jirat Thongsuwan for allegedly evading mandatory conscription and will look into another allegation against MFP Bangkok MP Suphanat Minchaiynunt, said Lt. Gen. Taweepool Rimsakorn, commanding general of the TDC.
Lt. Gen. Taweepool insisted that Jirat's copy of his Sor Dor 43 document might be fake since the real one must have 5 signatures from members of the conscription committee, and there must be a fingerprint identification unless the person was not physically qualified and did not go through the lot-drawing process.
The Sor Dor 43 is issued by the conscription committee to those exempted from military service via an annual lot-drawing procedure.
Taweepool added that Jirat's copy also contains his current name, and the TDC cannot find a stub with his current name on it, but they did find all three copies of his Sor Dor 43 documents that were registered under his previous name, Nawarin.
Jirat still insisted that his copy was 100% real and that he had informed the TDC about his name changes. He stated that he was willing to show the copy to TDC but not to the public. If he is found to have forged the document, he could be stripped of his MP status and possibly face jail time.
Defense Minister Sutin Klungsang had earlier denied that the armed forces are targeting Jirat over his conscription exemption because he wanted to inspect the army barracks residence where former Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is residing.
Meanwhile, Suphanat has been accused of receiving a 2-year suspended jail sentence for evading mandatory conscription. However, Suphanat vehemently denied the accusation and said that he had completed the conscription process and had all the evidence.
Taweepool said the TDC would look into the claim regardless while Suphanat urged the TDC to investigate all MPs, including cabinet members, and make their findings available to the public.
Suphanat also urged the TDC to keep a photo record of people who have completed conscription to tackle the corruption of military officials selling the Sor Dor 43 documents to those who failed to complete conscription or evaded conscription.
Taweepool said the TDC does not have the resources to investigate all the MPs, but they will investigate the ones they have received complaints about or cases that are of public interest.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 2nd:
Chiang Mai University law lecturer Somchai Preechasilpakul predicts on Thursday the chance of Move Forward Party being disbanded by the Constitutional Court is high. He adds people will take to the streets when the parliament plays limited role.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 2nd:
Progressive Movement co-leader Piyabutr Saengkanokkul asks Thurs night why Move Forward removed its policy proposing to amend the lese majeste law from its website when the court did not make the specific order. This will add to the climate of fear, he warns.
Piyabutr says doing so won't save the party from possible dissolution as the ruling has already been made. The move came after the Constitutional Court yesterday ordered the party to stop campaigning to amend the law.
The court ruled on Wednesday it's unconstitutional and tantamount to an attempt to overthrow the political system with HM the King as Head of State.
The Straits Times: New blow for Thailand’s Move Forward Party as lawyer launches dissolution bid
The Nation: Opposition leaders show support for Move Forward at dinner meeting
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 2nd:
Theerayut Suwankesorn, the lawyer who filed the petition leading to the latest Constitutional Court's ruling against the Move Forward Party (MFP), submitted a petition to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate 44 MFP MPs who proposed a bill to amend the lese-majeste law.
Theerayut had already filed a petition seeking to dissolve the MFP with the Election Commission (EC) yesterday.
These two petitions stemmed from the court's ruling on Wednesday, stating that the MFP's attempt to amend the lese-majeste law equates to an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system.
If the EC believes that the MFP is attempting to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system, they could ask the Constitutional Court to dissolve the party based on Section 92 of the political party law. If NACC finds the 44 MPs guilty of severe ethical misconduct for proposing the amendment bill, they could ask the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to issue punishments to the MPs, including banning them from politics for a certain period or for life.
MFP Deputy Leader Sirikanya Tansakul stated today that the party has already planned for the petition against the 44 MPs, which also includes herself. She asserted that MPs have the right to amend laws and that the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions looks into proof of circumstances differently from the Constitutional Court.
She also said the party is prepared for the worst-case scenario where all 44 MPs are banned from politics. In the event of such a scenario, there is still enough time to prepare for the next generation of leaders for the party, as this court case is not expected to be resolved swiftly.
Thai PBS World: Petitions seeking political bans on 44 Move Forward MPs filed
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 2nd:
The Move Forward Party (MFP) could propose a bill to abolish the Constitutional Court and establish another agency to oversee the court's duties instead, according to law lecturer and secretary-general of the Progressive Movement, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul.
His suggestion follows the Constitutional Court's ruling that the MFP attempted to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system by trying to amend the lese-majeste law.
Piyabutr said this proposal is among the strategies to counter the "legal war" initiated against the party. Besides abolishing the court, the party could also introduce bills to alter the court's origin and composition, delineate the court's power boundaries, or enable Parliament to remove court members.
He also suggested that the lese-majeste law can still be amended to reduce penalties, eliminate minimum sentences, separate defamation from malicious intent, and specify the Prime Minister as the sole plaintiff. If the party believes in amending the law to prevent its use as a political tool violating human rights, Piyabutr encouraged them to persist in their pursuit.
Beyond lese-majeste law amendments, the party could consider revoking the emergency decree transferring the 1st and 11th Infantry Regiments, the King’s Guard, to His Majesty’s personal control, and revising the bill related to His Majesty’s assets.
Piyabutr also recommended increased party member participation in decision-making about policies, including whether to continue pursuing lese-majeste law amendments or not, to prevent internal divisions within the party.
Thai PBS World: Court verdict deals with crux of matter
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 2nd:
Move Forward Party reveals on Fri people donated 754K baht to the party in the 48 hrs following the Constitutional Court's ruling the party's pledge to amend the lese majeste law was unconstitutional & tantamount to an attempt to overthrow the pol system.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 3rd:
Deputy leader of pro-junta United Thai Nation Party Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana warns Sat Move Forward Party & leaders of Progressive Movement Piyabutr Saengkanokkul & Thanathorn Juangrungruangkit should respect the ruling by the Charterl Court.
He said it's unlawful to not accept the court's ruling that MFP's pledge & attempt to amend the royal defamation law was unconstitutional & an attempt to subvert the pol system with the King as Head of State.
Bangkok Bank: 44 MFP MPs risk lifetime bans
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 3rd:
Progressive Movement co-leader Piyabutr Saengkanokkul warns Move Forward Party on Saturday they must cintnue to push for change even if it means they face party dissolution otherwise they may be abandoned by voters.
The remark is a reaction to MFP's removal of its campaign pledge to amend the lese majeste law from its website aft Weds' Charter Court's ruling pledge is unconstitutional and tantamount to subversion against the political system with the King as Head of State.
Piyabutr said even if MFP does kowtow, it will only buy time, the party would probably going to be dissolved anyhow. Other suggestions include: the party must contnue to lead the people in this "judicial war".
He also urges the Move Forward Party to find whatever avenue that's left to continue to push for lese majeste law reform, be courageous in retaliating against the Charter Court's ruling and hold a meeting of all MPs, staff and network members to boost morale.
The Nation: Ruling against Move Forward won’t affect economy, central bank says
Opinion: Khaosod: The Middle Path Towards Thai Monarchy Reform Is Being Shutdown
Bangkok Post: MFP unfazed by court ruling
Bangkok Post: Activist Ruangkrai renews bid to ban 44 Move Forward MPs
The establishment is obviously very keen to make the leaders of the MFP disappear forever.
Thai PBS World: Pita among protest leaders given suspended sentences for flash mob protest
Bangkok Post: Move Forward: Pita's PM candidacy intact
Bangkok Post: Pita now ineligible to be PM, according to academic
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 6th:
The Commanding General of the Territorial Defense Command (TDC), Lt. Gen. Taweepool Rimsakorn, has filed a police complaint against Move Forward Party Chachoengsao MP Jirat Thongsuwan, accusing him of forging his Sor Dor 43 document.
This stems from the accusation that Jirat failed to complete his mandatory conscription process before forging the document, which is normally granted to people who have undergone the lot-drawing procedure and were exempted from military service because they drew a black card.
The TDC stated that Jirat's document, which he has been showing to the media, contained his current name when it was supposed to be his previous name, and there was no fingerprint stamp on the document, indicating that it might not be an official document.
Bangkok Post: Fake military certificates in crosshairs
Bangkok Post: Move Forward still wants lese majeste absolved under amnesty
The Nation: Traditionalists wield the power to reform the reformists
Bangkok Post: Activist Ruangkrai renews bid to ban 44 Move Forward MPs
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 7th:
Move Forward Party Chachoengsao MP Jirat Thongsuwan posted a video showing two soldiers withdrawing cash from multiple ATM cards.
When the person recording the video asked how many ATMs they had, one of the two soldiers said they each had around 30-40 ATM cards. These cards belonged to other drafted soldiers from a military camp near Bangkok's Sanam Pao, he added.
Jirat, who was accused of forging his Sor Dor 43 document by the Territorial Defense Command (TDC) to avoid conscription, expressed concern that high-ranking soldiers might be skimming off drafted soldiers' wages. The Army has not yet commented on the video.
Meanwhile, Jirat maintains that his Sor Dor 43 document is genuine. He said he changed his name in 2009, which is the same year as his first conscription call-up, explaining that there might be a mix-up in terms of the name on the document. He believes the TDC's accusation against him is politically motivated, as he is actively addressing corruption within the military.
The Commanding General of the TDC, Lt. Gen. Taweepool Rimsakorn, was the person who filed the police complaint against Jirat.
This accusation stems from the claim that Jirat failed to complete his mandatory conscription process before allegedly forging the document. Normally, this document is granted to individuals who have undergone the lot-drawing procedure and were exempted from military service because they drew a black card.
The TDC stated that Jirat's document, which he has been showing to the media, contained his current name when it was supposed to display his previous name. Additionally, there was no fingerprint stamp on the document, raising doubts about its authenticity.
Opinion: Khaosod: Shut From Parliament, Monarchy Reform Issue Reopened on the Streets
Bangkok Post: Brawl outside mall as royalists confront protesters
The Nation: Pita sees political motive in efforts to dig up old IG post on grandmother
Bangkok Post: Pita under fire over horn stunt
Bangkok Post: Move Forward, Pita down but not out
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 10th:
MFP posted on social media Sat denying its chief advisor, Pita Limjaroenrat, is currently the bail guarantor for activist Tawan. Denial came aft Tawan was criticized by royalists for honking her car at a royal motorcade as her car was stopped by police.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 10th:
2 groups of pol activists clashed at Siam BTS station Sat. Tawan, a monarchy-reform activist was holding a presser, apologising for reckless driving, which may have endangered other cars on the rd closed off by police for HHR Sirindhorn's motorcade.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 10th:
While she was talking, a royalist group screamed insults, causing Tawan's group to become dissatisfied & led to an altercation. Pathumwan Police Station attempted to stop both sides but was unsuccessful. This results in injuries on both sides.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 10th:
2 groups of pol activists clashed at Siam BTS station Sat. Tawan, a monarchy-reform activist was holding a presser, apologising for reckless driving, which may have endangered other cars on the rd closed off by police for HHR Sirindhorn's motorcade.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 10th:
Move Forward Party deputy spokesman Karunphol Tiansuwan said Sat his party disagree with monarchy-reform activist Tawan Tuatulanond honking at the royal motorcade of HRH Princess Sirindhorn while being blocked by police to allow the procession to pass.
The remark came as the public is divided on the issue. Karunphol said special measures to protect VIP cars is normal, not just in Thailand but abroad & understandable particularly if the blockade wasn't unusually time consuming.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 10th:
MFP chief advisor Pita on Sat denies he supports monarchy-reform activist Tawan Tuatulanond's honking at the royal motorcade of HRH Princess Sirindhorn. He urges people to be calm & find a common solution aft a clash between Tawan's group & royalists at Siam BTS Station Saturday.
The Nation: Clash between pro- and anti-royal groups prompts closure of 2 Siam BTS exits
The Nation: Pita denies backing anti-monarchist despite securing her bail
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 10th:
The Move Forward Party (MFP) has expressed disagreement with the recent actions of pro-democracy youth activist Tantawan "Tawan" Tuatulanon. In her latest incident, Tawan honked her car horn and drove through a temporary police blockade, set up for a royal motorcade. The party justified their disagreement by pointing to the commonality of security escorts for important figures in other countries.
Tawan clarified that her intention was solely to proceed on her way without any plans of following the motorcade or causing harm. She expressed regret for any potential accidents or injuries resulting from her actions. MFP Deputy Spokesperson, Karoonpon Tieansuwan, acknowledged that temporary blockades for security procedures are an international norm, emphasizing the party's commitment to the principle of equality. However, he suggested that Tawan's actions might have breached security protocol.
The party also denied that Pita Limjaroenrat, the chairperson of its advisory board, is serving as the guarantor for Tawan's current bail. Initially, Tawan requested bail during a 52-day hunger strike advocating for political prisoners' right to bail. Although she later withdrew the bail request, for which Pita had acted as the guarantor, the court subsequently granted her bail, citing health concerns during the hunger strike. Tawan is currently facing lese-majeste charges for conducting a street poll on the inconvenience of royal motorcades to Bangkok residents, with the poll overwhelmingly indicating that participants find royal motorcades troublesome or inconvenient.
Following a confrontation between members of a royalist group and Tawan at Siam BTS Station earlier today, Pita urged calm from all sides to prevent further violence. He expressed understanding of Tawan's actions but also voiced concerns about the situation.
Videos from the confrontation showed that members of the royalist group confronted the youth group first before arguments and fights broke out, with members of the royalist group subsequently seen chasing after the youths.
Thai PBS World Why release of Thaksin could be a tipping point for Thai politics
The expected release of convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra next week is set to inject more heat into the simmering powerplay between conservative elites and the ex-PM, analysts say.
The Nation: Move Forward challenges minister to name parties ‘backing protesters’
Bangkok Post: An irreparable break-up?
Bangkok Post: EC reviews court ruling on MFP
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 21th:
Teerayuth Suwankaesorn, an attorney of former royalist monk Buddha Issara, petitions the Election Commission on Weds to initiate party dissolution process against Move Forward. He cited the ruling by the Charter Court on the pledge to amend the lese majeste law.
He adds MFP has close ties with young anti-monarchists.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 21th:
Lawyer Teerayut Suwankasorn is exerting pressure on the Election Commission (EC) to request the Constitutional Court to dissolve the main opposition Move Forward Party (MFP).
Teerayut had previously submitted a petition to the EC on February 1, urging them to seek the dissolution of the party. Today, he presented the complete ruling of the court, issued on January 31, to remind the EC of their decision. He emphasized that there is no need for the EC to ask the MFP for clarification since the court has already made a decision.
The court's ruling on January 31 declared that the MFP's election campaign to amend the lese-majeste law constituted an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system. This ruling, originating from Teerayut's petition, was used as the basis for filing the petition to the EC on February 1. If the EC believes that the MFP is attempting to undermine the constitutional monarchy system, they could request the Constitutional Court to dissolve the party under Section 92 of the political party law.
On February 2, Teerayut also submitted a petition to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate 44 MFP MPs who proposed a bill to amend the lese-majeste law. If the NACC finds the 44 MPs guilty of severe ethical misconduct for proposing the amendment bill, they could request the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to impose penalties on the MPs, including banning them from politics for a certain period or for life.
In addition to the two petitions, Teerayut said he is monitoring the draft amnesty bill for people prosecuted for political expressions and gatherings, which includes amnesty for people charged with lese-majeste, to see if the effort is in violation of the court's ruling or any law.
Teerayut had previously served as legal counsel for Suwit Thongprasert, also known as "Buddha Isara," a defrocked monk who formerly co-led the People's Democratic Reform Committee.
Thai Enquirer: Move Forward will lose support advocating for Marxism
Bangkok Post: Poll body ready to take up Move Forward case
The Nation reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on February 28th:
“They can end my party but they can never end my history,” says Pita Limjaroenrat, former leader of Move Forward, which is at risk of being disbanded.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 4th:
Leader of Thai Civilized Party Mongkolkit Suksintharanon on Mon petitions the Central Investigation Bureau to arrest Move Forward advisor Pita Limjaroenrat & 9 others for attempting to overthrow the democratic system with the King as Head of State.
Mongkolkit submitted the ruling made earlier by the Constitutional Court as evidence that Pita and the party acted against the current political system and the monarchy by pledging to amend the lese majeste law.
"Ten of them may face death penalty or many face life imprisonment," he said, adding an example should be set.
Bangkok Post: Move Forward Party dissolution case 'won't drag on'
Bangkok Post: MFP urges caution over censure talks
Thai PBS World reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 12th:
The Election Commission resolved today to request the Constitutional Court to disband the Move Forward Party and disqualify its party’s executive members.
This decision follows the unanimous ruling by the Constitutional Court earlier this year, finding the party and its former leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, guilty of seeking to overthrow the country’s constitutional monarchy system. This was due to their political campaign to amend the lese majeste law, known as Section 112.
The Nation: EC pushes for Move Forward’s disbandment over Article 112 verdict
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 12th:
Parit Watcharasindhu, spokesperson for Move Forward Party (MFP), said Tues though the Election Commission has decided to submit a petition to dissolve MFP with the Charter Court the party and its legal team were already prepared to proce their innocence.
"At this moment, please do not jump to conclusions... The party has done is not wrong," he said.
Bangkok Post: Election Commission to seek Move Forward's dissolution
Bangkok Post: Move Forward Party leader downplays dissolution effort
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 12th:
The National Anti-Corruption Commission's ethical probe against 44 Move Forward Party MPs who signed petition to amend the lese majeste law is in the advance stage and should be completed within 180 days, said NACC sec-gen Niwatchai Kasemmongkol in Tues.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 12th:
The Election Commission on Tues resolved to petition the Charte Court to disband Move Forward Party. Move came aft the court ruled the party's pledge to amend the royal defamation law is tantamount to an attempt to overthrow the pol system with HM as Head of State.
Prachatai: EC seeks to disband Move Forward Party
The Nation: EC pushes for Move Forward’s disbandment over Article 112 verdict
Bangkok Post: Election Commission to seek Move Forward's dissolution
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 12th:
The Election Commission (EC)'s petition to request the Constitutional Court to dissolve the main opposition Move Forward Party could be completed within two days, and the court's verdict is expected around the beginning of May.
According to news reports, the petition could be drafted in a couple of days, given that it will be based on the full verdict of the Constitutional Court's ruling on January 31. The full verdict was released on February 29.
The court's ruling on January 31 declared that the MFP's election campaign to amend the lese-majeste law constituted an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system, violating Section 49 of the charter. The EC decided today that there is enough evidence to request the Constitutional Court to dissolve the party under Section 92 of the political party law.
Section 92 of the law stipulates that if a political party commits acts to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system, it could be dissolved.
Former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said he expected the court to take around two months to come up with the verdict, or around the beginning of May. He said it is nearly impossible for the verdict to be in MFP's favor.
The MFP won the 2023 election, securing 152 MP seats out of 500 available seats. However, the party was unable to form a government while the second runner, the Pheu Thai Party with 141 MP seats, managed to form a government with the help of coalition partners from the previous pro-military ruling coalition led by the 2014 coup leader, General Prayut Chan-ocha.
Thai PBS World: Move Forward party wants to defend itself in Constitutional Court
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 13th:
The Constitutional Court's verdict on January 31 meant that it would be challenging for the Move Forward Party (MFP) to argue their case, especially when compared to past cases. Nonetheless, the party will assert that there are insufficient grounds for its dissolution, as stated by MFP leader Chaithawat Tulathon.
He stated that the dissolution of a political party will not solve any political problems in Thailand; instead, it will exacerbate political conflict. Chaithawat also emphasized that dissolving a political party based on the excuse that they were trying to undermine the governing system and the royal institution could damage the royal institution itself and bring it closer to the political conflict, which should be avoided.
"I am worried for Thai society after this because we are going back to the same cycle where there is still no exit to be found, and we are falling deeper into it," he said. "Dissolving a political party doesn't help anything; it will only make things worse."
These comments followed the Election Commission's decision to ask the court to dissolve the party based on the court's ruling that the party's attempt to amend the lese-majeste law constitutes an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system.
Chaithawat expressed his expectation that the court would allow the party to clarify itself and provide evidence to support its case. However, he acknowledged that it is up to the court to decide when they have enough evidence to make a ruling.
When asked about the option for the party's executives to resign to avoid being banned from applying for office for a decade, Chaithawat said the party has yet to discuss this.
The Nation: Charter court could decide on petition to disband Move Forward in 2 months: ex-EC
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 13th:
No political party would like to see another political party being dissolved, said Anutin Charnvirakul, the leader of the ruling coalition partner Bhumjaithai Party, referring to the Election Commission (EC)'s decision to ask the Constitutional Court to dissolve the main opposition Move Forward Party (MFP).
Bhumjaithai is also facing a petition asking the EC to investigate the party for allegedly accepting illegal donations, which could lead to its dissolution. The petition from Lawyer Teerayut Suwankasorn came after former Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob was found guilty of concealing assets by the Constitutional Court.
The court stated that there was enough evidence to believe that Saksayam used a nominee, Supawat Kasemsut, to hold shares of a construction company, Burijarearn Construction, that receives state contracts worth billions of baht. The alleged nominee had also donated money to the party in the past. The EC stated that they are still gathering evidence in this case.
When asked if he is concerned about the speculation that the possible dissolution of the MFP could impact Bhumjaithai's case, Anutin said he does not expect any domino effect because the dissolution of a party is based on whether a party has violated any regulation, procedure, or the charter. The two cases are separate.
When asked if he had prepared for a backup party or not, he said the party has yet to look that far ahead, but the party had already prepared to fight for their case.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 13th:
The Election Commission (EC) is merely adhering to regulations in its unanimous decision to request the Constitutional Court to rule on the dissolution of the Move Forward Party, said EC chairperson Itthiporn Boonpracong.
He said there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the party attempted to undermine the constitutional monarchy system by seeking to amend the lese-majeste law, as per the court's ruling on January 31 and the evidence presented during the proceedings.
Responding to criticisms alleging that the EC is being directed in its actions and timing, Itthiporn clarified that they are strictly following regulations. He said the EC receives instructions solely from the law outlined in the junta-drafted charter.
Itthiporn highlighted that the EC is an "independent" institution committed to abiding by the law, the charter, and the rule of law. Any deviation from these principles could lead to accusations of negligence, he added.
All seven current members of the EC were appointed by a committee comprising members of other purportedly independent institutions, established by the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand—a legislative branch appointed by the previous junta, the National Council for Peace and Order.
Bangkok Post: EC takes up petition to dissolve Bhumjaithai
Bangkok Post: Election agency 'obliged by law' to seek Move Forward's dissolution
According to observers, attempts are being made to dissolve the party by completely unconstitutional means: 112 is a section of the Thai penal code, not the constitution, they say.
Prachatai: Disbanding the Party for treason would lead to conflict, says MFP leader
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 14th:
The government has no involvement in the consideration of the case against the Move Forward Party, which is undergoing a judicial process during which the party has the right to defend itself, said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
He also emphasized that his government came to power through an election in a democratic system. He said the country is progressing in the right direction in this regard, highlighting that the process to amend the junta-drafted charter is already underway.
These remarks followed a question from a German reporter regarding the government's commitment to democratization in Thailand, particularly in light of the potential dissolution of another political party over the lese-majeste law.
Regarding the lese-majeste law, Srettha asserted that Thailand upholds freedom of expression, but it must be exercised within the bounds of the law.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 14th:
The Move Forward Party (MFP) will investigate reports that around 10 of its MPs visited the house of Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the leader of the Palang Pracharath Party, stated MFP list MP Rangsiman Rome.
Rangsiman said Prawit, not being a minister, offers no justification for MPs to visit his residence. They will be asked to clarify these visits.
He said the previous election demonstrated that "cobras" – rebel MPs who defy their party lines or switch sides to another party with differing ideologies – can no longer thrive, as society no longer tolerates them. He said politicians known as cobras would likely jeopardize their political futures due to a loss of public trust.
Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, said yesterday that it's not the right time to discuss MFP MPs potentially joining his party, though he added that his party does prioritize caring for its MPs.
These developments arise as the MFP faces a case that could result in its dissolution, following the Election Commission's request for the Constitutional Court to consider dissolving the party for allegedly attempting to undermine the constitutional monarchy system by seeking to amend the lese-majeste law.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 14th:
Pita Limjaroenrat posted on Instagram to extend birthday wishes to the Move Forward Party.
The former party leader said it has been four years since the establishment of the party, following the dissolution of its predecessor, the Future Forward Party. Pita expressed his pride in being part of the MFP's journey and encouraged fellow party members to continue moving forward.
However, the MFP faces a similar threat as its predecessor, as the Election Commission is seeking its dissolution. The party said it had prepared for every scenario, with news reports suggesting that the party was already preparing for the formation of a new party, potentially led by MFP deputy leader Sirikanya Tansakun.
If dissolved, the party's executive board members could be banned from seeking office for a decade. The ten members identified at the time when the Constitutional Court said they were attempting to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system by seeking to amend the lese-majeste law include:
- Pita Limjaroenrat = leader
- Chaitawat Tulathon = secretary-general
- Nateepat Kulsetthasith = treasurer
- Nakornpong Supanimittrakul = registrar
- Padipat Suntiphada = executive member for the northern region
- Somchai Fangchonchit = executive member for the southern region
- Amarat Chokepamitkul = executive member for the central region
- Bencha Saengchantra = executive member for the eastern region
- Apichart Sirisunthorn = executive member for the northeast region
- Suthep U-on = executive member for the labor sector
Bangkok Post: So where's the opposition?
Bangkok Post: Pita says Move Forward preparing to battle Election Commission
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 18th:
The Election Commission (EC)'s petition to ask the Constitutional Court to dissolve the main opposition Move Forward Party has been submitted to the court via e-filing, EC Secretary-General Sawang Boonmee said.
The court typically convenes on Wednesdays, and they will provide updates on the cases they are examining on that day. It remains to be seen if the court will divulge any information on the case against MFP as early as this Wednesday (March 20) or not.
Former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said last week that he expected the court to take around two months to come up with the verdict, or around the beginning of May.
Bangkok Post: Court seeks more documents in Move Forward dissolution case
Bangkok Post: Court seeks more documents in Move Forward dissolution case
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 21st:
Fortify Rights called for the Thai government to prevent the forced dissolution of the main opposition Move Forward Party (MFP).
They said the Election Commission's move to ask the Constitutional Court to dissolve the MFP was a drastic political move that contradicted Thailand’s bid for membership in the UN Human Rights Council.
"If Thai authorities don’t reverse course on dissolving the Move Forward Party, then UN member states should not vote for Thailand to join the Human Rights Council," said Matthew Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Fortify Rights. "There is a discrepancy between the country’s international aspirations and internal political realities. The dissolution of the party, which has a strong democratic mandate, would undermine Thailand’s qualifications for any role on the Human Rights Council," he added.
However, government supporters noted that the government cannot intervene in the Constitutional Court's ruling.
Fortify Rights also said that before the ruling, the Constitutional Court should provide the MFP with due process, including the opportunity to present evidence and articulate its positions on the allegations against them.
Prachatai reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 22nd:
The Constitutional Court has ordered the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) to submit new documents in support of its petition for the dissolution of the Move Forward Party (MFP) as some were unclear.
Human rights organizations have condemned the ECT’s decision to seek the party’s dissolution. ASEAN Parliamentarian for Human Rights (APHR) member and Malaysian MP Kelvin Yii said that the APHR is “appalled” by the ECT’s decision to seek the MFP’s dissolution for advocating for legal reform and called on the Constitutional Court to reject the ECT's "absurd" petition.
Fortify Rights' Chief Executive Officer Matthew Smith, meanwhile, said that UN member states should not vote for Thailand to join the UN Human Rights Council if MFP is dissolved.
Bangkok Post: Pro-Move Forward petition questions Election Commission integrity
The Nation: Big jump in popularity of Pita and Move Forward, NIDA Poll shows
Bangkok Post: Pita strongly favoured for PM, Srettha"s popularity slips in Nida poll
Just another reason for the Constitutional Court to dissolve Move Forward and ban its frontmen.
The Nation: Thanakorn sees Move Forward dissolution, tells MPs to prepare for shift: source
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 26th:
The Election Commission has resubmitted its petition to the Constitutional Court for consideration regarding the dissolution of the main opposition Move Forward Party, according to news reports.
The initial submission was rejected by the court last Wednesday, citing unclear documentation. The EC was given a week to resubmit it.
Former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn stated earlier this month that he expected the court to take around two months to come up with the verdict, likely around the beginning of May.
Meanwhile, Move Forward Party list MP Pakornwut Udompipatskul denied reports that the party plans to set up a new party called Kao Mai (???????? or New Steps, New Forward or Next Steps).
Pakornwut clarified that they have not discussed a new party yet, and even if the party is dissolved, little will change aside from the name.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on March 27th:
Move Forward Party Leader Chaithawat Tulathon said he was not surprised when the Future Forward Party was dissolved because dissolving a party is a norm in Thai politics. He said the people in power have been looking for reasons to dissolve the party since its inception, and he was warned about it beforehand.
"The story that I have never told anyone before is that shortly after the 2019 election, someone who claimed to be a member of a powerful political figure's entourage approached me and said they really liked the Future Forward Party. However, if the party wanted to continue to exist, it had to comply with certain conditions. If they refused, they would end up without a country to live in or in prison before the parliament convened," he said at a seminar today.
"The person also said that no matter what, they would not allow Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the leader of the Future Forward Party, to enter the parliament. At that time, I couldn't think of how they would make it happen, but eventually, they managed to do it," he added.
Chaithawat said dissolving the party because they openly borrowed money from the leader of the party because they did not have time to gather the necessary funding before the election is like punishing the party for being transparent.
"We are designing rules and regulations in a way that makes people believe that the more transparent we are, the more exposed and wrong we become. Even some members of the EC, with good intentions and accustomed to it, also suggest that we hide the loan as donations instead. Can we really coexist like this?"
Chaithawat asked if anyone truly believed that the dissolution of the Future Forward Party and the petition to dissolve the Move Forward Party were not politically motivated and only about the law.
He said the dissolution of political parties in Thailand was never meant to get rid of parties that advocated against human rights and freedoms. Instead, the dissolutions were more of a tool for authoritarian dictatorship to get rid of opposition.
The Nation: EC chairman says Bhumjaithai probe will take time, unlike Move Forward
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on April 3rd:
The Constitutional Court accepted the Election Commission's petition for the court to consider the dissolution of the main opposition Move Forward Party.
The court has given the party 15 days to provide its statement.
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on April 3rd:
In a significant development, the Thai Constitutional Court has agreed to consider a petition from the Election Commission of Thailand to dissolve the Move Forward Party (MFP), an opposition group. This decision stems from the MFP's campaign pledge to reform the lese-majeste law, which makes it illegal to insult the monarchy. The court previously declared that proposing such a reform could be seen as high treason.
The MFP has gained popularity, especially among younger voters, for its progressive platform, which includes not just the controversial proposal to amend the lese-majeste law, but also focuses on issues like economic inequality and environmental policies. However, this stance has put them at odds with more conservative elements in Thai politics, who view any attempt to change the lese-majeste law as a direct challenge to the monarchy, a foundational institution in Thailand.
The court's decision to take up the case against the MFP highlights the deep divisions within Thai society and politics over the role of the monarchy and the extent of free speech. The MFP now has 15 days to respond to the allegations, setting the stage for a legal and political showdown that could have wide-reaching implications for Thailand's future.
Khadsod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on April 4th:
Chaithawat Tulathon told reporters that the party has been preparing for the case and will seek to prove its innocence.
Bangkok Post: Move Forward Party demands action on call centre gangs
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on April 5th:
Ex MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat said Thurs night he's no regret if this would be his last address to the House of Representatives as an MP as he faces possible ban from politics from the Charter Court due to his & his party's pledge to amend the lese majeste law.
Pita warns even if MFP is dissolved by the court in the near future, what's left of the party could re-emerge even bigger and stronger.
Prachatai: HRW: Court ruling on MFP dissolution could subvert democratic rule
Thai Enquirer reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on April 10th:
The main opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) has requested an additional 15 days to submit their statement to the Constitutional Court regarding its dissolution case, said Nakarin Mektrairat, the president of the court.
On April 3, the court agreed to consider a petition from the Election Commission to dissolve the MFP based on a ruling from January 31, which determined that the MFP had attempted to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system by proposing amendments to the lese-majeste law.
The court subsequently ordered the MFP to provide its statement within 15 days, with Nakarin indicating that the court will convene on April 17 and is likely to grant the MFP's extension request. This means that the verdict in the case will not be announced within April, contrary to some speculation.
Nakarin also clarified that the ruling on March 31 was based on Section 49 of the charter, whereas the dissolution case is grounded in the Organic Act on Political Parties—highlighting the distinction between the two legal contexts. He further emphasized that the current case seeking to dissolve the MFP differs significantly from the dissolution of the Thai Raksa Chart Party, as the circumstances and legal bases are entirely separate.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on April 10th:
Pres of the Constitutional Court Nakarin Mektrairat said Weds the court will likely allow MFP an additional 15 days to prepare themselves to defend itself re the petition by the Election Commission to punish MFP due to its pledge to amend the lese majeste law.
As for MFP's request to have witnesses testified, the court will first consider if it's necessary. Nakarin added people who believe the party will be dissolved are arriving at the conclusion based on mere speculations.
Thai PBS World: Move Forward may get more time for defence in charter court
Prachatai: ECT to seek disqualification of former MFP MP
Thai PBS World: Pita vows Move Forward will return stronger after charter court verdict
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on April 16th:
Former Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat says this Songkran may be his last as an MP as he could be banned from politics by the Charter Court for pledging to amend the lese majeste law. Speaking from Khon Kaen Mon, he adds he wishes to return as PM in 3 yrs.
Pratchatai: The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organizations Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) call on Thailand’s Constitutional Court to dismiss the petition to dissolve the Move Forward Party (MFP) to ensure compliance with the country’s obligations under international human rights law.
FIDH (INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS): Thailand: Looming dissolution of main opposition party in breach of international law
Thai PBS World: Move Forward party leads Pheu Thai by a wide margin in new poll
Prachatai: New report shows Southeast Asian parliamentarians remain at risk despite democratic trappings
Parliamentarians and ex-parliamentarians in Southeast Asia continue to be subjected to human rights violations, says new report by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR). In Thailand, the report noted that the Move Forward Party was prevented from forming a government by unelected senators, despite winning the highest number of votes in the May 2023 elections. The party and its former leader Pita Limjaroenrat are also facing a campaign of judicial harassment.
Khaosod reports on its X (formerly Twitter) account on May 1st:
Charter Court on Weds granted MFP 15 days, or until May 18, to defend itself on why they shouldn't be punished for pledging to amend the lese majeste law. It earlier ruled the act was tantamount to an attempt to overthrow the democratic system with HM the King as Head of State.
Bangkok Post: Move Forward girds for dissolution case
Opinion: Thai Enquirer: Fair Weather Friends: Looming MFP dissolution shows fickleness of the West
Saksith Saiyasombut reports on his X (formerly Twitter) account on April 15th:
Constitutional Court extends deadline for MFPThailand to submit defense in dissolution case until June 2 "for the last time". The opposition party faces a ban after the same court found their campaign promise to amend lèse majesté as tantamount to "high treason".
Thai PBS World: Move Forward given further extension to submit defence in dissolution case
This is a developing story: We'll give updates on the situation as we learn more.
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