Thailand's Election Commission ruled Monday that the ruling Democrat Party be dissolved for alleged misuse of poll donations, in a potential victory for anti-government protesters who paraded slain comrades through Bangkok to press the prime minister to resign.
The ruling, which would require Constitutional Court endorsement to take effect, came soon after the deadliest political clashes in nearly two decades on Saturday. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has remained defiant about not resigning, now faces unprecedented pressure.
The EC recommended on Monday the party be dissolved on two counts: not declaring a 258 million baht donation it allegedly received from cement firm TPI Polene Plc, and for improperly using a 29 million baht grant from the commission for political development.
The EC has not announced when it would forward its findings to the Office of the Attorney-General. The OAG will have 30 days from receiving the recommendation to decide whether to file the cases with the Constitution Court. The Democrat Party faces possible dissolution and its executives could be banned from politics for five years if the Constitution Court upholds the Election Commission's finding.
Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said after the fuling was announced that the party was ready to defend itself against the accusations in court. Democrat chief adviser and former premier Chuan Leekpai is tipped to head the party's defence, a report said.
Thai poll body says ruling party must be dissolved [AP, 13 April 2010]
PM Abhisit's minefield [The Nation, 14 April 2010]
Democrats confident of survival [Bangkok Post, 14 April 2010]