30 May 2007

“Not a genuine party...”

Democracy Monument

The Constitutional Tribunal, a body established after the coup as a substitute for the Constitutional Court, has ruled that Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai party must be dissolved. TRT executives were found to have paid smaller parties to contest last year’s general election, and to falsify the party registration forms of some party candidates. (If a party campaigns unopposed, a higher threshold of votes is required to win, and candidates must have been party members for at least ninety days before they can stand for parliament. TRT colluded to ensure that minor parties had enough candidates to stand against them, paradoxically making it easier for TRT to win.)

111 TRT executives, including Thaksin, have been banned from active politics for the next five years, and no candidates can contest any future election under the TRT banner. The Democrats, on the other hand, have been acquitted of all charges. The judges’ verdict reads: “The Thai Rak Thai Party acted to advance the personal fortune of its leader and tampered with the electoral process in order to grab and cling to power—this not a genuine party with any ideology”.