See More on Facebook

Politics

Judges rule unanimously to dissolve Thai Raksa Chart.

Judges said the party’s decision to run the princess was a ‘threat to monarchy’.


Written by

Updated: March 8, 2019

The Constitutional Court yesterday disbanded the Thai Raksa Chart Party for nominating a member of the Royal Family, Princess Ubolratana, as its candidate for prime minister, ruling that such a move “might undermine” the Thai constitutional monarchy system, which placed the monarchy above politics.

The court ruled unanimously to dissolve the party under Article 92 of the 2017 Constitution and voted 6-3 to ban the party’s executive members from politics for 10 years while also barring them from setting up a new political party.

Princess Ubolratana, the elder sister of His Majesty the King, who has relinquished her royal status since 1972, had accepted Thai Raksa Chart Party’s invitation to be its lone candidate for prime minister.

The charter court, however, ruled that Ubolratana remained a royal at functions involving the monarchy since the reign of her father, the late King Rama IX.

Thai Raksa Chart, a major ally of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, had argued that it had proposed the name of the prime minister candidate with her consent in accordance with the current constitution.

However the Election Commission (EC) revoked her nomination on February 8, the same day her application was submitted, after HM the King issued a royal command pointing to her royal status. The EC later petitioned the charter court to dissolve the party, accusing it of undermining the so-called “democratic regime with the monarch as the head of state”.

While the military-sponsored 2017 Constitution has no clear clause prohibiting members of the Royal Family from entering politics, the nine charter court judges referred to the tradition and norm since the 1932 revolution to bar persons at the level of Royal Highness in the royal hierarchy from taking part in elections.

The amendment of the principle during the reign of King Rama VIII in 1946 did not change the spirit of the norm in subsequent constitutions, judge Nakarin Mektrairat said.

The 1932 revolution paved the way for Thailand’s change from an absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and gave special status to the monarchy institution, placing it above politics, said Nakarin, a former scholar who wrote a book on the 1932 revolution.

The monarchy has traditionally reigned, but not ruled, over the Kingdom and acted as the revered institution in Thai governance for a long time. The Royal Family’s entry in politics would take away the neutrality of the monarchy, the judge said.

The Royal Family must not be brought to become a part of any political faction so that the monarchy can remain at the centre of the heart of the nation, he said.

Thai Raksa Chart, set up on November 7, is only four months old. Though the party had obtained the rights and freedom granted by the Thai constitution, exercising that right must be based on an awareness that it will not destroy Thai norms and values,” said Nakarin, and added such actions should not consequently pose any threat to the regime.

As the party’s political decision to nominate a Royal Family member for prime minister could be deemed a threat to the constitutional monarchy system, the court ruled to ban its executive members from politics for 10 years, rather than impose a life ban as widely expected.

The dissolution of the party also raises questions about the legality of its candidates contesting the March 24 election. The party has fielded candidates in 175 constituencies and 108 in the party list. These candidates might be disqualified for not being members of a political party for more than 90 days before polling day, as required by the law.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Nation (Thailand)
About the Author: The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Hong Kong government blasts riots

Hong Kong police chief blasts Sha Tin violence which leaves six people seriously injured. Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam broke her silence on Monday afternoon (July 15)  to condemn “rioters” and praise police after violent clashes on Sunday night that left two people in critical condition and four in a serious state. Mrs Lam said the police had acted “professionally” and practised “restrain” in dealing with the group of protesters who hung around New Town Plaza shopping mall in Sha Tin, hours after a rally had ended. Speaking to the media at a Tai Po hospital, where six officers are still being treated, she said the police’s duty is to uphold the law and those who broke the law have to be taken to task. “Hong Kong society will not condone such violence,” she added. Secretary for Security John Lee, who also visited the hospital, told reporters


By The Straits Times
July 16, 2019

Politics

Chinese economy grows at slowest rate in decades

Growth slumps to 27-year low in China, with talk of more aggressive stimulus measures. China’s economy grew 6.2 per cent in the second quarter of this year, its slowest rate in 27 years, as the country’s trade war with the United States exacted its toll. Analysts said they expect economic growth to continue to weaken for the rest of this year, which would likely prompt more aggressive stimulus measures from Beijing. Data released on Monday (July 15) by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that gross domestic product growth in the second quarter had slowed from 6.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, coming in largely within expectations. The economy grew by 6.3 per cent for the first half of the year, according to the NBS. The figure is still within the 6 to 6.5 per cent target that Beijing has set for full year GDP growth. Last year, Chin


By The Straits Times
July 16, 2019

Politics

Hong Kong protests: Chaos speads to Sha Tin mall after rally ends

Protests continue, this time against Chinese vendors. Violent clashes between law enforcers and some protesters erupted yet again on Sunday (July 14) following a largely peaceful march hours earlier in the New Territories town of Sha Tin. About three hours after the rally ended at 5pm, police in riot gear began clearing the streets, setting off a game of cat and mouse with them and protesters trying to corner one another. Tensions peaked at about 9.30pm when officers armed with shields and batons entered New Town Plaza mall in Sha Tin and tried to disperse the crowd that was hiding there, resulting in chaos. Police officers were seen chasing after a protester, hitting him with batons and ripping his clothes off as they tried to pin him down before he managed to flee to safety with help from fellow protesters, who were trying to dodge pepper spray. Elsewhere in the mall, protesters surround


By The Straits Times
July 15, 2019

Politics

India asks Commonwealth to readmit Maldives

Maldives pulled out of commonwealth under previous administration over human rights concerns. India has called upon for fast-tracking the process of readmission of the Maldives to the Commonwealth. This was conveyed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at the 19th Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting (CFAMM) in London on Wednesday. “The External Affairs Minister, in his remarks, congratulated the member countries on the 70th anniversary of Commonwealth. He also noted that India is well on the path of fulfilling all the commitments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at CHOGM 2018. The EAM called for fast-tracking of the process of re-admission of Maldives to the Commonwealth,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. New Delhi’s support for the Indian Ocean archipelago came weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Male on his first overseas trip after being re-


By The Statesman
July 12, 2019

Politics

Why is Korea so dependent on Japanese materials?

Korea’s neglect in basic technologies leaves major industries vulnerable. The aggravating trade dispute with Japan reveals some hard truths about South Korea’s lack of basic technologies despite being dubbed as a tech powerhouse, not to mention the dire need to diversify its supply channels to reduce its heavy dependence on the neighboring nation. On July 1, the Japanese government tightened the export process to Korea of three classes of hi-tech materials crucial to the production of chips and display panels and removing it from the white list. The materials include fluorinated polyimide, photoresist and hydrogen fluoride, which are dominated by Japanese companies globally. Fluorinated polyimide is used to make flexible organic light-emitting diode displays. Photoresist is a thin layer applied to transfer a circuit pattern to a semiconductor substrate. Hydrogen fluoride, or etching gas, is needed i


By The Korea Herald
July 12, 2019

Politics

Japan’s export curbs fuel political feud in S. Korea

Seoul is in political turmoil as politicians tackle the best course of action to pursue with Japan. Japan’s decision to impose export restrictions on key hi-tech semiconductor and electronics materials to South Korea is having a political fallout here. President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday reiterated Seoul’s position that the measures are politically motivated, while criticizing Japan’s attempt to justify its actions by linking them to sanctions on North Korea. “The Japanese government is taking measures that impact our economy for political goals, and making comments that link (the measures) to North Korean sanctions without any basis. It is not beneficial for bilateral relations and security cooperation,” Moon said at a meeting with leaders of South Korea’s largest corporations on Wednesday.


By The Korea Herald
July 11, 2019