Thailand: Authorities must reverse dissolution of opposition Future Forward Party
Responding to the news that Thailand’s Constitutional Court has ruled on the Election Commission’s request to dissolve the Future Forward Party, Amnesty International’s Regional Director Nicholas Bequelin said:
“Today’s decision by the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Future Forward Party illustrates how the authorities use judicial processes to intimidate, harass and target political opposition. Thai authorities must reverse the dissolution decision and restore genuine rights to freedom of expression and association in the country.
“The dissolution of the Future Forward Party is the culmination of the Thai authorities’ relentless onslaught against the party’s leaders and members since the lead-up to the March 2019 general elections. Both before and since the elections, the authorities have used sweeping and vaguely worded legal restrictions to dissolve the party, and had disqualified the party leader from sitting in parliament.
“The Thai government, members of parliament, and all political parties in Thailand must commit to protecting the rights to freedom of expression and association. The international community, which has on the whole remained silent about human rights violations in Thailand, must clearly demonstrate it will not accept the outlawing of political opposition.”
Thailand’s Constitutional Court today ruled to dissolve the Future Forward Party, affirming the complaint filed by Thailand’s Election Commission. The Court determined that, by accepting a 191 million Baht (approx. USD 6,036,664) loan from its leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the party was in violation of Sections 66 and 72 of the Organic Law on Political Parties, which bans donations of more than 10 million Baht (approx. USD 316,000). It also ruled to prohibit 16 party executives from competing in elections for ten years.
Prior to and following the general elections on 24 March 2019, the government has launched ongoing attacks on political opponents who were perceived as receiving increased public support. This was evident in the politically motivated disbandment of the Thai Raksa Chart Party on 7 March 2019. The party’s leaders were barred from competing in elections for ten years.
Amnesty International is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any candidate in any election.