The Constitutional Court has disbanded the Thai Raksa Chart Party for nominating a member of the Royal Family as its candidate for PM in the forthcoming election.
The ruling said that such a move “might undermine” the Thai constitutional monarchy system, which placed the monarchy above politics. The court ruled unanimously to dissolve the party under Article 92 of the 2017 Constitution and voted 6-3 to ban the party’s executive members from politics for 10 years while also barring them from setting up a new political party.
Princess Ubolratana, the older sister of His Majesty the King, who has relinquished her royal status since 1972, accepted Thai Raksa Chart Party’s invitation to be its lone candidate for prime minister. But the Charter Court ruled that Ubolratana remained a royal at functions involving the monarchy since the reign of her father, the late King Rama IX.
Thai Raksa Chart, a major ally of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, had argued that it had proposed the name of the prime minister candidate with her consent in accordance with the current constitution.
However the Election Commission revoked her nomination on February 8, the same day her application was submitted, after HM the King issued a royal command pointing to her royal status. The EC later petitioned the charter court to dissolve the party, accusing it of undermining the so-called “democratic regime with the monarch as the head of state”.
While the military-sponsored 2017 Constitution has no clear clause prohibiting members of the Royal Family from entering politics, the nine charter court judges referred to the tradition and norm since the 1932 revolution to bar persons at the level of Royal Highness in the royal hierarchy from taking part in elections.
PHOTO: Election Commission Secretary General, Jurangvit Phumma (C) arrives at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok on March 7, 2019, before a court ruling on Thai Raksa Chart party – APF
The amendment of the principle during the reign of King Rama VIII in 1946 did not change the spirit of the norm in subsequent constitutions, judge Nakarin Mektrairat said.
The 1932 revolution (known as the Siam Revolution) paved the way for Thailand’s change from an absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and gave special status to the monarchy institution, placing it above politics, said Nakarin, a former scholar who wrote a book on the 1932 revolution. The monarchy has traditionally reigned, but not ruled, over the Kingdom and acted as the revered institution in Thai governance for a long time.
The Royal Family’s entry in politics would take away the neutrality of the monarchy, the judge said.
The Royal Family must not be brought to become a part of any political faction so that the monarchy can remain at the centre of the heart of the nation, he said.
Thai Raksa Chart, set up on November 7, was only four months old and was formed as a proxy party to support the political ambitions of the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai party which has won every election since it was formed in 2008.
SOURCE: The Nation
Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises
Amidst rumours circulating that the Palang Pracharat Party may renege on some of the promises it made to secure MP votes from the Democrats and Bhumjaithai, the Democrat party leader Jurin Laksanavisit says he believes the Palang Pracharat party will keep its promises.
Thepthai Senpong MP, a key Democrat party member, is warning that the coalition government will be in big trouble if the promise is broken. He says the coalition government would “function with great difficulty” if the Palang Pracharat party does not stick to the promises it made to the Democrats, according to Thai PBS.
Meanwhile, Somsak Thepsutin, one of the Sam Mitr faction within Palang Pracharat, says that if one of their group isn’t offered the agriculture minister’s post (reportedly offered to the Democrats as part of the ‘deal’), the promises they made with Thai voters during the election campaign could be affected.
Somsak has already spoken of his aspirations to become the next agriculture minister, despite the portfolio being used as a political football during negotiations with the Democrats.
But the new leader of the Democrats, Jurin Laksanavisit insists that the issue of the quota of ministries for his MPs has already been settled. He re-iterated yesterday that Palang Pracharat would not go back on its promises to the Democrats. He added that he had not been informed of any changes to their arrangements despite being aware of the media reports about the prevarication.
SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Nation
Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament
Election – check. Vote for PM – check. New government sworn in – not quite yet.
There is still a reported back-room fight over cabinet portfolios between factions in the Palang Pracharat Party. Several key ministries were offered to Bhumjaithai and Democrat MPs in return for voting for Prayut Chan-o-cha as PM on Wednesday.
Now that Prayut’s been installed back behind the big desk at government house, there have been sources reporting wrangling and possible back-tracking over the promises made preceding the parliamentary vote on Wednesday.
- The Democrats were promised the agriculture, commerce and social development ministries while the Bhumjaithai were reportedly offered the Transport Ministry post.
- Palang Pracharat MPs claim that, as the leading party in the coalition, it should control key ministries to follow through on its election promises.
- Sira Jenjaka, a Palang Pracharat MP for Bangkok, says PPRP should oversee key portfolios which handle infrastructure and transport development projects initiated by the last administration.
- PPRP list MP Somsak Thepsuthin, a leading figure of the “Sam Mitr” faction in Palang Pracharat, claims the party needs control of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and that PM Prayut will have a final say on the matter (a notion that was flatly denied by the PPRP last week).
- Palang Pracharat MP Buddhipongse Punnakanta admits the quota of cabinet posts for coalition parties “might” change but didn’t detail any of the Cabinet position affected, including the position of agriculture minister.
- Newly elected House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, a former Democrat PM, waded into the issue yesterday saying he was sure that Palang Pracharat would honour the promises made in regards to Cabinet posts offered to the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties.
- Democrat leader Jurin Laksanavisit says the deal with the PPRP was singed and sealed and believes it would be honoured.
- Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charvirakul says the agreement with the PPRP remains unchanged, and insisted the party will push for its election pledges to be implemented.
“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the 40 year old Future Forward leader who was up against Prayut Chan-o-cha for the position of PM yesterday, says that the pro-democracy alliance hasn’t conceded defeat but, he says, were “robbed of their victory”.
He is vowing to work harder outside parliament to prove that to the people.
“This election is just one battle in the long journey to achieve democracy. We fiercely believe that, in the end, our day will come. Dictatorship cannot resist the winds of change, the winds of democracy. The people will cry for freedom, cry for justice.”
Thanathorn was nominated by the Pheu Thai-led alliance as their sole PM candidate for yesterday’s vote, admitted that he had little hope that both the Democrat and the Bhumjaithai parties would make the “right decision”. Without their vote the Pheu Thai alliance wouldn’t have a majority in the lower house to make a stand (even though the Senate’s votes – 250 – would have carried Prayut Chan-o-cha over the finish line anyway). As it was he only missed winning the vote in the lower house by a handful of votes.
Thai PBS reports that, despite the election defeat, the firebrand young politician pleaded with all democracy advocates not to lose hope, but to move forward with him.
“I would like to tell my brothers and sisters that this is not our end, it is just the beginning,” he said, adding that the election result was a proof that they did not work hard enough and must strive harder.
“Future Forward party would divide its work and resources into three main areas; its MPs will undertake legislative work and check the performance of the government, the party will prepare for the forthcoming local elections and strengthen the party.”
SOURCE: Thai PBS
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