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FFP’s fate decided in 2 weeks

FFP’s fate decided in 2 weeks

THAILAND: The Constitutional Court says it will rule on whether to dissolve the Future Forward Party (FFP) on Feb 21 over allegations that it accepted a 191.2-million-baht loan from its leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, a violation of the organic law on political parties.

politics
By Bangkok Post

Thursday 6 February 2020, 11:00PM


Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok last November. File photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok last November. File photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

The court said yesterday (Feb 5) it had also ordered the 17 witnesses as listed by the FFP to present their written testimonies by Feb 12.

On Dec 25, last year, the court accepted the Election Commission (EC)’s request to consider disbanding the FFP for accepting a loan from Mr Thanathorn to finance its election campaign.

The EC cited Section 72 of the law which prohibits parties and its executives from accepting cash donations, assets or other benefits when they know or suspect the money comes from an illegitimate source. The EC considers the loan illegitimate, citing Sections 62 and 66 of the law on political parties.

Section 62 provides details about what income parties can legally make. The section allows parties to conduct fundraisers or receive donations, but it does not include loans as a legitimate financial source. Section 66 of the law bars any individual from donating money or assets to parties in excess of 10 million baht within a one-year period.

On Nov 20, last year, the court disqualified Mr Thanathorn as an MP after ruling he possessed shares in a media company when he registered his candidacy for the March 24 general election.

Meanwhile, the court says it will rule on the validity of the 2020 budget bill tomorrow. The court accepted a request filed by House Speaker Chuan Leekpai asking for its ruling after it was revealed some coalition lawmakers voted for it without being present in the chamber.

The court took up the issue after 109 coalition MPs and 84 opposition MPs asked it to clear all doubts surrounding the bill’s legality.

Questions were raised after Nipit Intarasombat, a former Democrat MP, alleged on Jan 20 that two Bhumjaithai MPs, Chalong Therdwirapong and Natee Ratchakitprakarn, voted to pass the bill without being present in the House on Jan 10-11. Mr Chalong later admitted he was at a funeral in Phatthalung when his vote was cast, saying he had accidentally left his electronic voting card behind.

Mr Nipit also said Ms Natee’s vote for the bill was cast when she was already on her way to China. A video clip aired on Channel 7 showed Prim Pooncharoen, of the PPRP, and Somboon Zarum of the Bhumjaithai Party inserting more than one card in the voting machine.

Meanwhile, the FFP said it will table before the House a motion seeking to set up a committee to find ways to prevent future coups.

Kharom Phonphonklang, a FFP list MP, said coups had damaged the country, and the FFP wanted to bring the motion for debate in the House.

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