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Court Orders Evidence Submission in Move Forward Case

On June 12, 2024, the Constitutional Court directed the Election Commission (EC) to submit its list of witnesses and evidence in the high-profile case against the Move Forward Party (MFP) before the next hearing scheduled for June 18.

The court’s nine judges convened to deliberate on the EC’s petition seeking the dissolution of the MFP. The embattled party had already submitted its written defense on June 4. The EC’s petition accuses the MFP of attempting to overthrow the constitutional monarchy and acting contrary to the democratic system with the King as head of state. These allegations are said to violate Article 92 (1) and (2) of the Political Party Act.

Central to the EC’s case is a ruling by the Constitutional Court on January 31. The court had declared that former MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s campaign promise to amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, was unconstitutional and could be perceived as an effort to destabilize the constitutional monarchy.

The EC has demanded the court dissolve the MFP and impose a political ban on its executive board members. After scrutinizing the case, the court instructed the EC to provide a comprehensive list of witnesses and evidence by June 17. This sets the stage for a tense legal battle that could significantly alter the political landscape, according to a report by The Nation.

In a related development, the Constitutional Court decided by an 8-1 vote to consider two petitions challenging the legality of key provisions in the law governing the election of the nation’s 200 new senators. This decision has sent shockwaves through the political scene, raising questions about the upcoming senatorial elections. Despite agreeing to review the petitions, the court unanimously dismissed the petitioners’ call for an immediate injunction.

Meanwhile, the MFP is bracing for potential dissolution by preparing contingency plans, including identifying three potential leaders for a new party. This preparation comes as the party defends itself against accusations of attempting to undermine the constitutional monarchy through its efforts to amend the lese majeste law.

The court’s instructions to the EC, along with its decision to review the petitions regarding the senatorial election law, indicate a crucial period ahead for Thailand’s political landscape.

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