A top court in Thailand ruled that Move Forward, the party that won the most seats in last year’s general election, violated the constitution by promising to loosen the country’s stringent royal insult law.
The Constitutional Court on Wednesday ordered the party to cease its campaign to amend Article 112, known as lese majeste law, which protects the monarchy from defamation.
The pledge was a key part of Move Forward’s election campaign that helped it sweep 40% of popular votes in the general election in May.
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While the guilty verdict may not directly lead to an immediate dissolution of Move Forward, it could eventually pave the way for that outcome. According to rules, the Election Commission must lodge a petition with the court to dissolve any political party that it deems to be seeking to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.
A pro-establishment lawyer had brought the case against Move Forward and its former leader Pita Limjaroenrat. He alleged the campaign was an attempt to “overthrow the democratic regime of government with the king as head of state,” which is outlawed in the military-backed charter written after a coup in 2014.
The verdict came a week after the same court ruled that 43-year-old Pita was not guilty of breaching election rules for holding shares in a now-defunct media company and lifted a six-month suspension on his lawmaker duties.
At least 263 people have been charged under the lese majeste law since November 2020, according Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.Leave a comment