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Thai Outlaws, Disbands Overthrown Party

From those champions of the fair elections at the Associated Press:

Supporters of Thailand’s Thai Rak Thai party listen to the court verdict at the party’s headquarters in Bangkok.

Thai Court Disbands Party of Ex-Premier

By Ambika Ahuja
Thursday, May 31, 2007; A15

BANGKOK, May 30 — A court disbanded the political party of Thailand’s ousted prime minister Wednesday, barring him and 110 party executives from politics for five years for violating election laws.

The ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal followed a guilty verdict against the Thai Rak Thai party for financing obscure parties to run against it last year to get around election turnout rules. The court also disbanded three smaller parties, two of them hired by Thai Rak Thai.

The ban is a stunning end for a party that two years ago was the most powerful in Thailand. Its demise began after the military overthrew Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September. The bloodless coup followed demonstrations by tens of thousands of people demanding Thaksin’s resignation and accusing him of corruption…

The tribunal’s decision, which cannot be appealed, was greeted with shock and tears at Thai Rak Thai headquarters, where hundreds watched the proceedings on television. Party leaders, however, urged supporters not to protest.

We want to insist that we will not protest the ruling,” Thai Rak Thai leader Chaturon Chaisaeng told reporters. “We know you are confused, some are disappointed. But we ask you to be patient and be prudent. As long as people have faith and belief in our party platforms, there will be a way out.”

Before the ruling, Thaksin had also appealed for calm from exile in London. “We have to respect the rules of the game. That is, the rule of the law,” he said…

The “rule of law”? One wonders.

One also wonders how popular the military coup is now. If it ever was.

How many more parties have to be banned before they can get on with those long promised open and free elections?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, May 31st, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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