Constitutional Court to rule on dissolution of TRC Party, says ECT

On 13 February 2019, the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) has had a resolution to file the case with the Constitutional Court to rule on dissolution of Thai Raksa Chart (TRC) Party for undermining constitutional monarchy.

 Lt Preechapol Pongpanich, leader of the Thai Raksa Chart Party

Earlier on 8 February, TRC has nominated Ubolratana to be Prime Minister and, later that night, there was a Royal Command stating that nominating Ubolratana as candidate for Prime Minister is inappropriate and unconstitutional.

On Monday 11 February, the ECT has announced the list of Prime Minister candidates without the name of former princess Ubolratana Mahidol on the list, and there will be a committee to collect evidence and investigate.

Yesterday (12 February), the rumor said that the ECT the committee was never established and the case was quickly forwarded to the Constitutional Court, but the president of ECT said to wait until it is official. Today, it is official that the Constitutional Court will rule on the matter.   

According to the 2017 organic law on political parties, the ECT may ask the Constitutional Court to rule on the dissolution of a party if there is evidence that said party:

1. attempts to undermine the constitutional monarchy, or act in an unconstitutional way to gain the power of governance

2. act in opposition to the principles of the constitutional monarchy

3. violating Article 20 Clause 2, Article 28, Article 30, Article 36, Article 44, Article 45, Article 46, Article 72, or Article 74 of the organic law on political parties

4. there is a legal reason for the party to be dissolved.

The organic law also says that, once the Constitutional Court has investigated the case and found that there is a reason to believe that the party in question has violated these rules, the Court may order the party to be dissolved, and to disqualify its executive board from running in the election.

Article 94 of the organic law also says that former executive board members of a dissolved political party may not form another party or be part of the executive board of another part within ten years of the dissolution.

Chaturon Chaisang, the Octoberist rock star of TRC Party before Ubolratana’s nomination, is not a part of the executive board. Thus, his political future remains open. However, he said that he will stay with the party until the end of the line. 

TRC Party is a political party associated with Thaksin Shinnawatra, along with Pheu Chart Party and Pheu Thai Party. With TRC Party under the trial of Constitutional Court, this would make even more difficult for Thaksin's bloc to fight the already uphill battle. 

Backed up by 250 non-elected senates, Prayut Chan-o-cha will need to secure only 126 votes from house of representatives to earn majority of the whole parliament (376 out of 750) to become the Prime Minister.  On the other hand, Thaksin's bloc will need to secure 376 votes, all of which from the house of representatives to form the government. Without the TRC Party, the possibility has significantly decreased. 

Tomorrow, the Constitutional Court will consider if it will take the case.