June 12, 2023
BANGKOK – The Election Commission (EC) has already rejected four separate complaints that could have led to the dissolution of the Move Forward Party, a source from the commission said on Sunday.
EC secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee, in his capacity as the Political Parties Registrar of the EC, rejected the four complaints made against Move Forward by its rivals that the party violated the Political Parties Act, the EC source said.
Three of the complaints accused it of breaking laws that protect the monarchy, the source said.
Political parties are prohibited from doing anything detrimental to a constitutional ruling with the King as head of state or anything seen as an act of hostility to the Constitutional Monarchy, according to the Act.
In one complaint, Patipat Santipada – a candidate for Move Forward in Phitansulok – was accused of attacking a development project under the initiative of King Rama IX during an election campaign event on March 5.
In another, Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat was accused of showing his hostility to the monarchy by giving interviews showing his support for amending Article 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law.
In a third, Amornrat Chokepamitkul, an executive of Move Forward, was accused of showing hostility against the monarchy by expressing support on Facebook for amending Article 112.
In the fourth, Move Forward was accused of allowing outsiders to influence its affairs by permitting Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Phannikar Wanit, a former leader and a former executive of the dissolved Future Forward Party, respectively, to have a say in Move Forward’s affairs.
Future Forward was dissolved in 2020 and its MPs subsequently formed Move Forward.
Sawaeng rejected the four complaints due to lack of evidence, the source said.
On Friday, a complaint against Move Forward leader, Pita, made by political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana was also dismissed.
Ruangkrai had alleged that Pita was not eligible to contest the May 14 election because he held 42,000 shares in ITV Plc, a media firm.
The six election commissioners decided unanimously to reject Ruangkrai’s complaint on the grounds that it was filed after the EC had completed its examination of election candidates’ qualifications.
Any relief for supporters of Pita was short-lived. The commissioners decided at the same meeting to investigate whether Pita violated Article 42(3) and Article 151 of the MPs Election Act.
The EC will investigate whether Pita applied as a party-list MP candidate despite knowing he may not have been eligible to run for a House seat.
The charge is more serious than the shareholding allegation because it is a criminal charge and it could take much longer for Pita to prove he is not guilty, some observers said.
They also said pro-military senators may cite the investigation as an excuse to vote against Pita becoming the next prime minister.