Two major parties of Thailand prepare for ruling

2007-05-23 23:47:03

    by Ling Shuo

    BANGKOK, May 23 (Xinhua) — Ahead of
the “judgment day” of May 30, both the Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT) and
the Democrat Party, the two major parties in Thailand, have stepped up
preparations and campaign on the cases of 2006 election fraud before
the Constitution Tribunal which could order the both to be dissolved.

    On Wednesday, about 100 former Thai
Rak Thai Parliament members(MPs) from the Northeast gathered for an
urgent consultation and were briefed about the latest situation as well
as a worst case scenario, according to reports of local news group The
Nation. The MPs then left the party’s headquarters carrying files and
video CDs they were supposed to use when explaining the party’s fate
and plans to their constituents.

    Founded by former Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra, the TRT was the biggest party in Thailand during
the former government. Itis reported that the TRT has a total of 14
million party members. Former Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng
took over the leadership of party after last year’s military coup which
toppled Thaksin.

    “We have been talking to former MPs
over the past few days to give them the correct understanding of the
situation before the verdicts come on May 30,” Chaturon was quoted by
the Nation as saying. “We all agree that our strongest point is the
election, sowe will do the best we can to make sure nothing goes wrong
before the promised election at the end of the year.”

    He said the party was “prepared”
for the worst case scenario –a dissolution verdict which could ban
party executives from politics in the next election. But Chaturon
declined to reveal the plans, saying all details would be given on the
judgment day.

    But over the next few days, the
party would step up a campaign “for justice,” according to former TRT
MP Wichai Chaijitvanichkul.

    “Taxi clubs will be asked to have
their members turn on headlights and mount red flags to express public
love for justice,” said Wichai. “The red color represents The Thai
nation, and we chose the taxi drivers because they have had strong
connections with our party. This is not meant to defy the interim
leadership. It will just give people who love our party a chance to
express their clamoring for justice.”

    The party will also set up a stage
in front of its headquarters on May 30 for its members and followers to
monitor the tribunal’s rulings. Party senior members insisted that the
plan was not meant to create trouble in the event of a dissolution

    If dissolved, unaffected party
members will seek to register a new party, but under the old “Thai Rak
Thai” name. Opinions have been divided as to whether registering a new
party under the old name is legally possible, The Nation said.

    Meanwhile, the Democrat Party’s
executives and former MPs also have discussed the situation of the
party. A high-ranking source of the party was quoted by local media as
saying that they had heard that the Council for National Security (CNS)
wanted to see both major parties, Democrat and TRT, dissolved.

    The source said Democrat chairman
Abhisit Vejjajiva was considering taking a break from politics if the
Tribunal decided to dissolve the party.

    However, Tribunal judge Nurak
Mapraneet said on Wednesday that the Constitution Tribunal has still
not decided whether to dissolve the both parties or bar guilty leaders
from holding political posts for five years.

    Both the TRT and the Democrat face
charges of committing fraud during last April’s general election, the
results of which were annulled on May 8, leaving Thailand in a
political wilderness from which it has yet to emerge.

Yan Liang



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