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The Constitutional Court ruled yesterday (3 April) to accept a petition filed by the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) seeking the dissolution of the Move Forward Party (MFP) and the disqualification of its executive board members.

MFP supporters waving orange flags at the party's final event before the May 2023 general election. (File photo)

The ECT decided to file the petition after the Constitutional Court ruled on 31 January that campaigns put forward by MFP and its former leader Pita Limjaroenrat to amend the royal defamation law are treasonous.

The Constitutional Court issued a press release yesterday (3 April) saying that it has accepted the petition. It will send a copy of the petition to the MFP and require the party to submit testimony to the Court within 15 days after receiving the copy.

MFP party leader Chaithawat Tulathon said that the party has been preparing its testimony and that, given the deadline, is likely to submit it soon after the upcoming Songkran holidays. The party will also hold a press conference around that time regarding its plans to defend itself.

Chaithawat believes that the Court’s decision will not deter MFP MPs from their parliamentary duties. He said that people should not rush to a conclusion about the result of the case, and that he believes there are ways for the party to defend itself, noting that the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the campaign was treasonous does not mean it has enough evidence to dissolve the party.

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), which previously condemned the ECT’s decision to seek the MFP’s dissolution, said that it is “dismayed” by the Court’s decision to accept the ECT’s “patently absurd case.” It calls on the Court to “uphold the democratic process by ruling against the petition.”

Fortify Rights also reiterated its call for the Thai authorities to prevent MFP’s dissolution. Its Chief Executive Officer Matthew Smith said previously that dissolving the party would undermine Thailand’s chance of qualifying for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

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