The Constitutional Court of Thailand has ruled to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC), and to prohibit TRC executive board members from running in an election, forming a new party, or be a board member of another party for a period of 10 years starting from today.
The Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) has announced that the election will be held on 24 March 2019. The constitution says that the ECT must deliver the 95% of the election results within 150 days after the organic law on election came into force on 11 December 2018. To prevent legal complications, the ECT plans to announce the election results by 9 May 2019. It therefore claims that the possibility of overturning the election is very unlikely.
The Constitutional Court has been granted legal immunity from criticism, and the power to settle conflicts between state agencies. Although the new law allows ordinary people to petition the court directly, the process is still problematic, said a human rights advocacy group. On 2 February 2018, the Organic Act on Constitutional Court was published in the Royal Gazette.
Two major political parties have challenged the junta’s new regulation which handicaps old parties amid criticism that the military is manipulating the election laws for the benefit of new parties in the next general election scheduled in November 2018. On 27 December 2017, Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a member of the Pheu Thai Party legal team, submitted a petition to the Constitution Court asking it to rule whether the junta’s endorsement of Head of the National Council for Peace and Order
The Thai Election Commissioner has confirmed the junta can legally dissolve parliament to resolve gridlock during the process of selecting a new Prime Minister, but questions whether such drastic measures would be worth it.
The Thai military have intimidated an environmental activist who is calling for the nullification of the result of the referendum on the junta-backed draft charter, saying the referendum was unfair. Srisuwan Janya, Secretary-General of a political group called the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution (APTC), posted a message on his FB account at 9:19 am on Tuesday, 9 August 2016, reporting that several soldiers in uniform again visited his house in Bangkok.
Well-known pro-democracy activists and an academic have concluded that in addition to reforming its military, Thailand needs to reform its judicial institutions as well to get out of the endless cycle of coups d’état. Resistant Citizen, an anti-junta activist group, on Monday, 22 February 2016, organised a well-attended public seminar on Judicial Institutions under Special Circumstances at Thammasat University, Tha Prachan Campus, Bangkok.
Prosecutors have indicted eight anti-election protesters for barricading Bangkok’s election venues during advanced voting in the election in early 2014. At the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok, at 11 am on Monday, 28 September 2015, prosecutors indicted Tinnakorn Plodpai, 35, one of the leaders of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), an anti-election mob, for barricading the election venue in Bang Kapi District of Bangkok on 26 January 2014.
Thailand last week was stunned by the Constitutional Court’s ruling to remove Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and some cabinet members from their caretaker positions.
Friends of Thai Democracy are becoming increasingly anxious as the search for its whereabouts or any trace of its remains now enters its third month.