Court to decide Future Forward’s fate in two weeks

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, at center, speaks Jan. 21 at a press conference after his party Future Forward Party was acquitted of ties to an internet conspiracy theory about the so-called Illuminati. Photo: @Thanathorn_FWP / Twitter
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, at center, speaks Jan. 21 at a press conference after his party Future Forward Party was acquitted of ties to an internet conspiracy theory about the so-called Illuminati. Photo: @Thanathorn_FWP / Twitter

Though they were found not guilty of what were widely seen as patently absurd charges linking them to a timeworn conspiracy theory, Thailand’s lead opposition party will see its fate tested again later this month.

The Constitution Court announced yesterday that it will rule Feb. 21 on the legality of a THB191 million loan floated by the Future Forward Party’s wealthy leader that underwrote its operations going into the 2019 election.

Though loans such as that made by Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit are common practice in Thai politics, skeptics expect the court to hand down a guilty verdict and dissolve the popular progressive party.

Not Guilty: Future Forward Party acquitted in absurd ‘Illuminati’ case

Late last year, the Election Commission petitioned the court, which holds the power to unilaterally disband parties and ban politicians, to consider dissolving Future Forward for accepting the loan from Thanathorn.

Though both the court and commission are nominally independent bodies, they have a history of working in conjunction to dismantle reformist parties posing a threat to the military-dominated status quo.

The Election Commission cited several sections of the Political Party Act which prohibit parties and their executives from accepting cash donations to declare the loan illegitimate. No attempt has been made to prosecute other parties for doing the same.

Future Forward came out of nowhere to place third in last year’s general election on a platform vowing to fully restore democracy and remove the military’s grip on power. It is currently supporting a no-confidence motion against key members of the cabinet over allegations of graft and incompetence.

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CITY: BANGKOKCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: POLITICS

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