Foreign countries, organizations express concern at Future Forward dissolution

Several foreign governments and rights organizations expressed their concern over Thailand’s decision to disband the Future Forward Party on Friday.

Thailand’s Constitutional Court had voted to dissolve the Future Forward Party over an illegal loan case involving party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

The court also banned 16 current and former members of the executive committee from politics for ten years.

Foreign governments

The United States State Department said on Saturday, through the US Embassy in Thailand, that the decision by the court to dissolve a party that had more than six million voters “raises questions.”

“While the United States does not favor or support any particular political party in Thailand, more than six million voters chose the Future Forward Party in the March 24 elections.  The decision to disband the party risks disenfranchising those voters and raises questions about their representation within Thailand’s electoral system.”

The European Union also released a statement calling for authorities to “ensure that all legitimately elected Members of Parliament are able to continue fulfilling their parliamentary mandates, irrespective of the party from the list of which they were elected.”

Foreign rights organizations

The statements by foreign governments were also punctuated by rights groups, who questioned the verdict and the government’s involvement.

“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,” said Amnesty International’s Regional Director, Nicholas Bequelin.

“Thai authorities must reverse the dissolution decision and restore genuine rights to freedom of expression and association in the country.”

Amnesty’s statement was similarly echoed by Human Rights Watch who said the decision by the court was “seriously damaging to the country’s return to genuine democratic rule.”

“The Constitutional Court’s ruling to dissolve the Future Forward Party is a knockout blow for Thailand’s teetering efforts to restore democratic rule after a military dictatorship,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “This decision seriously weakens the political opposition for the benefit of the military-backed ruling party and unjustly cancels the votes of over six million Future Forward Party supporters.”

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