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Top Thai court accepts case to dissolve reformist party

BANGKOK (AFP)Thailand’s Constitutional Court agreed Wednesday to hear a case seeking the dissolution of the reformist Move Forward Party over their campaign pledge to reform the kingdom’s tough royal defamation laws.

The party upended the kingdom’s political order in last year’s May election, scoring the most votes after a campaign promising reform of the military, and business monopolies and to amend the lese-majeste laws.

But their audacious bid shocked the Thai establishment and ended with them locked out of a coalition government following months of political and legal wrangling.

Last month, the Election Commission (EC) agreed “unanimously” to petition the Constitutional Court to dissolve MFP over the party’s campaign pledge to reform the kingdom’s tough royal insult laws.

(FILES) Move Forward Party leader and prime ministerial candidate Pita Limjaroenrat leads a victory parade with fellow party members and supporters on May 15, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

In a statement, the Constitutional Court said Wednesday it “accepts this request for ruling”.

It added the party has 15 days to submit evidence.

It follows another court decision in January that ruled MFP’s campaign pledge over the lese-majeste laws amounted to an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

Thailand has a history of political parties being wound up by judicial intervention, including MFP’s forerunner the Future Forward Party (FFP), which was dissolved in 2020 over finance issues.

Despite winning most seats, MFP was excluded from the coalition that formed the government, and then-leader Pita Limjaroenrat was blocked from becoming prime minister.

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