Overseas Thai network issues statement against FFP’s possible dissolution

The Association of Thai Democrats Without Borders, a network of overseas Thai people led by political refugee Jaran Ditapichai, issued a statement on Tuesday (18 February) against the possible dissolution of the Future Forward Party as the Constitutional Court prepares to rule on the case of the loan the party took from its leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit on Friday (21 February).

The statement states that the Association “strongly opposes the referral to the Court,” arguing that the Court’s acceptance of the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT)’s request is rushed and “against the decision of its subcommittee, raising questions as to its impartiality.”

It also accused the Constitutional Court of refusing to “respect the judicial procedure” by not opening the hearing, which, the Association perceives, “indicates political motives.”

The statement also spoke against the dissolution of political parties, since it “will destroy political pluralism in Thailand,” and because “the weakening of the opposition is a weakening of democracy for the benefit of the government of General Prayut Chan-o-cha.”

The statement also said that, currently, Thailand is not under a democratic government but is ruled by an authoritarian regime in which the ruling classes do not support democracy and “do not like political parties and oppose the exercise of freedom by the people,” noting that the Future Forward Party, with its “political programme” of army reform and decentralization, has become “the target of the ruling class and the government.”

The FFP has faced several lawsuits since the start of 2019. Its leader Thanathorn has been disqualified from parliament for owning shares in a media company, despite the company having ceased operations in 2017, while party members face several charges, including sedition and anti-monarchy allegations, of which the party and its leaders were acquitted in January 2020.

The statement also noted that the Constitutional Court “has a long history of dissolving political parties,” including the Thai Rak Thai Party, the People’s Power Party, and the Thai Raksa Chart Party. It also said that “most of the judges of this court are appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order.”

According to the statement, the Association believes that the FFP is likely to be dissolved on 21 February 21 and “calls upon the democratic people to reject the decision of the Constitutional Court.”

The leader of the Association of Thai Democrats Without Borders, Jaran Ditapichai, is a former Human Rights Commissioner and political activist who fled to France after the 2014 military coup.

The ruling on the loan case is scheduled to take place three days before the debate on the motion of no-confidence filed against 6 ministers, including Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, which is currently scheduled to open on 24 February.