Move Forward Party confident it does not face dissolution after Constitutional Court ruling

The Move Forward Party (MFP) said they are confident that their party would not be dissolved following a controversial Constitutional Court ruling, the party’s MPs told Thai Enquirer on Thursday.

The court said on Wednesday that it was anti-constitutional to call for reform of the monarchy and that all protesters must stop all such activity at once.

The Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that three protest leaders, including Arnon Nampa, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, were in violation of Section 49 of the constitution by calling for institutional reform.

The court said their actions during a protest at Thammasat University in August 2020 was an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system.

The court also ordered that any organization that looks to promote the amendment of Section 6 of the constitution and Section 112 of the Criminal Code or the lese-majeste law must cease all related activities.

Natthaporn Toprayoon, a lawyer and former adviser to the chief ombudsman who petitioned the court to make the decision on the three protest leaders’ actions, said after the ruling that it could be used to support another petition to dissolve the MFP as well.

“I do not see how the Move Forward Party would be involved in the Constitutional Court’s ruling,” said Rangsiman Rome, a Move Forward MP.

“The interpretation that the ruling could lead to a dissolution of the party is a long stretch but we cannot deny that there are people who are already looking to do this to us,” he said.

Natthaporn said the MFP has financially supported the protest leaders’ movement, helped bail out suspects, and joined their rallies.

Rangsiman said bailing out political prisoners and petitioning the parliament for an amendment of the lese-majeste law are not illegal.

“We do not believe that there is any reason for a complaint that would lead to the dissolution of the party,” Rangsiman said.

“There is no law in this country which specifically bars the amendment of Section 112,” he said.

Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, a list-MP and spokesman for the MFP, said the actions of the MPs at the party have always been in accordance with their jurisdiction within the law, which includes the petition to amend the lese-majeste law.

“If things are based on principles and the rule of law, I do not believe that anything will happen but there have been many occasions in this country where there are people who are willing to go against the agreed principles to get what they want,” he said.

Jade Donavanik, a legal scholar and former adviser to the 2017 Constitutional Drafting Committee, told Thai Enquirer that if a political party is found guilty of supporting an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system, they could be dissolved and the Constitutional Court’s ruling could be used to support a petition for the dissolution.

However, there is a need to look at the facts.

He said helping to bail out political prisoners is not equal to supporting an attempt to overthrow the governing system but the petition to amend the lese-majeste could be.

“If the petition is to only amend the law then it is not an attempt to overthrow but there is a need to look at the details of the proposal,” he said.

He said for an MP to personally join a political rally or speak on a protest stage is also not equal to a party’s support for an attempt to overthrow the system.

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