Thailand's Constitutional Court Dissolves Major Opposition Party

The court said the party's leader violated election law because he gave the new party about $6 million – far more than Thai law allows for political donations. He insists the money was a loan.

2/22/2020 4:19:00 AM

Thailand's top court has dissolved an emerging political party, saying its leader violated election law by giving the party about $6 million – far more than Thai law allows for political donations.

The court said the party's leader violated election law because he gave the new party about $6 million – far more than Thai law allows for political donations. He insists the money was a loan.

Chaiwat Subprasom/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getthide captiontoggle captionChaiwat Subprasom/SOPA Images/LightRocket via GettThailand's Constitutional Court ordered the popular opposition Future Forward Party dissolved, declaring that it violated election law by accepting a loan from its leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

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Chaiwat Subprasom/SOPA Images/LightRocket via GettThailand's top court has dissolved a nascent political party that has rankled the country's military establishment.The court said the party's leader, 41-year-old Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, violated election law because he gave the new party about $6 million – far more than Thai law allows for political donations. Thanathorn insists the money was a loan.

The party, Future Forward, was formed less than two years ago and surprised observers with its strong third-place showing in elections last March. It"ran on a platform that included reducing the military's role in Thai politics, a message that resonated, especially with young people," as Michael Sullivan reported for NPR from Chiang Rai.

The court also banned the party's 16-member executive committee from politics for the next ten years, some of whom are currently serving in Parliament. More than 60 other party members who hold seats in Parliament have 60 days to join a different party, according to

the Bangkok Post.Thanathorn, the heir to an auto parts fortune, addressed supporters on Friday and encouraged them to keep fighting.Thailand Approves Controversial Military-Penned Constitution"This is the time to prove they can't destroy us. We must be stronger as they want to grind us into the dirt," he said, according to The Associated Press."Therefore, this is the time to stand firm. Don't change your mind. Don't lose your fire. Don't stop dreaming. The Future Forward Party isn't just a political party, but a spirit, people and a journey."

Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, took power in a military coup in 2014. His party performed well in last year's general election and he held onto his office, though as Sullivan reported, it was a contest that"most independent observers say was rigged in the military party's favor." In 2016, Thai voters also approved a new constitution that further enshrined the power of the military in the country's political life.

Read more: NPR »

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Thai court orders popular opposition party dissolvedThailand's Constitutional Court dissolved the Future Forward Party and imposed a 10-year ban on the party's executive members holding political office.

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