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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Party Dissolution Day: Thai Rak Thai Found Guilty, Ordered Disbanded

Thai Rak Thai ordered disbanded

BangkokPost.com

The Constitution Tribunal judges wound up a day-long reading of their verdict in the political parties case late on Wednesday night, ordering the powerful Thai Rak Thai Party of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra dissolved for election cheating - and banning 111 top members from political life for five years.

The nine judges also found two Thai Rak Thai executive committee members guilty of illegally hiring small parties in the April, 2006, election - Gen Thammarak Issarangkura na Ayudhya and Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn.

The order disbanding Thai Rak Thai contrasted with the earlier decision to allow the Democrat Party and its executives to continue in politics.

Thai Rak Thai leader Chaturon Chaisaeng, who took over after Mr Thaksin went into self-exile after last year's coup, sat on the edge of his seat during most of a late-night verdict, which ended not long before midnight.

Judges said that disbanding a political party was a serious matter.

Thai Rak Thai won elections in 2001 and 2005, they said, and had 14 million members. Ordering the party dissolved would cause economic problems.

But the verdict laid much of the blame for shaky Thai Rak Thai political deals on the back of founder and then-leader Thaksin Shinawatra, still in foreign exile. The judges said Mr Thaksin had used the party for his own benefit, and Thai Rak Thai had no political ideology beyond its leader's ambitions.

The immediate fate of Thai Rak Thai, the country's most popular party, was not known.

But Mr Chaturon and other executives could immediately apply to form a "new" party, perhaps even using the Thai Rak Thai name.

Worries of violence after the verdict had long faded by the time the announcement against the party was made. But even at the height of public interest on Wednesday afternoon, no more than a few hundred peaceful supporters of both parties were gathered in three spots in Bangkok - at the court and at the two parties' headquarters.

The government had amassed a security force of 13,000, none of whom was needed to keep order.

A huge media corps of 700 outnumbered all political supporters from all factions.


The court has spoken.


A few things disturb me, however.

1. The court was picked by the junta.

2. The court made political speeches that had nothing to do with the law itself.

3. Like the coup, the court punishes every member of Thai Rak Thai and every voter without showing culpability in the crimes.

4. Because of the coup, many won't accept this verdict as fair and legitimate. There will be many who will say that the junta wanted Thai Rak Thai destroyed, so it was destroyed. This is why I argue all the time that political questions should be decided only within a constitutional framework. Since this decision was undertaken under the auspices of a military junta that came to power in order to destroy Thaksin and Thai Rak Thai, there will always be doubt.

5. Personally, I think there was an obvious criminal conspiracy by Thai Rak Thai executives to get past the 20% mark because of the boycott last year. The Democrats knew they couldn't win a legitimate election, so they boycotted. Thai Rak Thai knew that it wouldn't be able to convene parliament because of the boycott, so it hired parties to contest it. On this note, I blame both parties for working outside the constitutional framework for their own political gain. Some will say that it was Thaksin's fault for holding a snap election.

In the final analysis, this will probably end the short-lived Thai Rak Thai era. Those politicians who were smart enough to slither away when they saw the writing on the wall will rise up to eat at the public trough another day.

The one good thing that will come out of this is that I no longer have to hear about conspiracy theories about Thaksin's undercurrents and imminent comeback. Without a political party vehicle, the chances of Thaksin come back are improbable.

The nail looks like it is firmly in the coffin of Thaksin's political career.

On the other hand, The Nation and other Thaksin haters will now attribute every bad thing that happens to Thailand from now on as a move by Thaksin to resist the court's verdict. Of course, this excuse will be used to squash the voices of political dissenters, regardless if they are related to Thaksin or not.


5 comments:

Ghafar said...

4. Because of the coup, many won't accept this verdict as fair and legitimate. There will be many who will say that the junta wanted Thai Rak Thai destroyed, so it was destroyed........

Point #4 above is exactly what Chaturon said in his "defeat speech" at his office Hq. In other words, he said that "might is right"

Patiwat said...

On the other hand, The Nation and other Thaksin haters will now attribute every bad thing that happens to Thailand from now on as a move by Thaksin to resist the court's verdict.

I've been thinking for some time that even if Thaksin were to die tomorrow, the military and the yellow shirts would still blame his vengeful spirit (along with that nasty Khmer voodoo they like talking about) for the junta's incompetence.

Matty said...

Patiwat ever heard of 'bad grass being difficult to kill'? So your prayer that 'if Thaksin were to die tomorrow" may never happen in our lifetime.

Now election fraud is a serious felony isn't it? Will Thaksin be included with Thammarak and Pongsak to be tried criminally immediately after the recent Constitutional Tribunal ruling against TRT?

'Bad grass may be unkillable' but the Thai people would hope for long quarantine period to prevent its spread.

Ghafar said...

With TRT gone and its corrupt founder & cronies in limbo for at least 5 years, we can only expect good things to happen to this country, which will see prosperity and justice prevail everywhere even in the South.

People will love each other and practice self-sufficiency economy to the envy of greedy neighboring countries like Singapore, which will also be surprised to see that its top ranking position in the Hong Kong-based PERC is overtaken by a state ruled by men carrying guns.

Fonzi said...

Matty-

Now that Thaksinocracy is over I hope you will be just a vigilant in ending juntacracy.