Thai authorities laid one more flagstone toward dissolving a key opposition party popular with the electorate today in a ruling against its leader.
The Election Commission ruled Wednesday that Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit broke the rules by loaning money to his Future Forward Party and said it would forward a petition for its dissolution to the same court which has undone a series of past opposition parties disfavored by the military establishment.
Future Forward did not take news quietly, posting a Twitter status at about 3pm with the hashtag #FutureForward followed by #WhyShouldWeBeAfraid?
The commission’s petition, sent to the court this morning, said Thanathorn violated election laws by lending his newly founded party THB191million (US$6.3million) in January, two months before its strong showing in the first general election held in over five years.
The commission cited Section 72 of the Political Party Act, which prohibits political parties and politicians from accepting money, assets or other benefits that have a suspicious or illegitimate source.
Prior to the election, the Election Commission, an ostensibly independent body whose members were already seen as biased players putting their fingers on the scale, was disbanded and replaced by members supported by the ruling junta.
— พรรคอนาคตใหม่ (@FWPthailand) December 11, 2019
Thanathorn’s popularity poses an existential threat to the status quo. Soon after Future Forward placed third in the election, he was blocked from entering parliament and ultimate stripped of his MP status last month by the Constitutional Court, which found him guilty of breaching election rules by once owning shares in a media company (it printed Nok Air magazines) despite evidence he had transferred or sold them before seeking office.