Constitutional Court to rule on sedition complaint against FFP; accepts ECT’s FFP loan case

On 25 December the Constitutional Court of Thailand accepted the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT)’s request to rule on whether the Future Forward Party (FFP) violated Article 72 of the 2017 Organic Law on Political Parties by taking a loan from its leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and whether the party will be dissolved.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit at the 14 December flashmob

Article 72 of the 2017 Organic Law on Political Parties states that no political party or individuals holding office in a political party shall receive money, property, or other benefit if they know, or could be expected to know, that it was illegally acquired, or if they have reasonable cause to suspect that it was illegally acquired.

On 11 December, the ECT voted to submit a request to the Court to rule whether the FFP taking a loan of 191,200,00 baht from party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is a violation of Article 72.  The penalties include dissolution of the party and barring the party’s executive members from running in elections for a number of years.

The Court will also rule on a sedition complaint made against the FFP by lawyer and former advisor to the Chief Ombudsman Nuttaporn Toprayoon, who accused the party of attempting to overthrow the "democratic regime with the king as the head of state" according to Section 49 in the 2017 Constitution, and for being linked to the Illuminati, a fictitious secret organization believed by conspiracy theorists to be seeking world domination.

Nuttaporn’s complaint claims that FFP members are anti-monarchy and anti-religion, and that the party symbol points to its link to the Illuminati and the party’s hidden purpose. The complaint was filed on 18 June 2019 and the Court accepted it on 22 July.

The Court said in a statement that no hearing would be held as it already has enough evidence, and that it will be ruling on the case on 21 January 2020 at 11.30.

These two cases are part of a storm of lawsuits thrown at the FFP since the start of 2019. On 21 November, the Constitutional Court ruled to disqualify Thanathorn as an MP for holding shares in a media company, despite the company having stopped operating in 2017.

On 14 December, thousands of people came together in a ‘flash mob’ on the Pathumwan Sky Walk, between MBK Shopping Centre and the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in Bangkok, as well as in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, and other provinces in northern and northeastern Thailand, following the ECT’s decision on 11 December, that it would recommend that the Constitutional Court order the FFP’s dissolution.