Thai opposition party ′not guilty′ of trying to overthrow monarchy | News | DW | 21.01.2020
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Thai opposition party 'not guilty' of trying to overthrow monarchy

The court ruling means the major Thai opposition Future Forward Party will not be banned on sedition charges. However, the party still faces several more legal challenges that could yet see it dissolved.

Thailand's Constitutional Court on Tuesday found the opposition Future Forward Party not guilty of seeking to overthrow the monarchy.

The party, led by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, showed no intention of committing the offense, the court ruled.

The court did find that the party should revise the wording in its charter so it clearly states it does not oppose the constitutional monarchy.

"This should not have been a case in the first place. I would like to stress that neither Thanathorn, myself, nor the party want to undermine the constitutional monarchy," said Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, the party's secretary-general.

Lawyer alleged Future Forward violated the constitution

The case was brought by lawyer Natthaporn Toprayoon, who charged the leaders of the party in July 2019 with violating section 49 of the constitution. This section forbids actions seeking to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

He also charged that the party had links to the Illuminati due to a symbol in its logo.

"I have no intention of wanting to see the party disbanded," said Natthaporn before the court ruling.

"I want people to recognize that we are all Thais and we should protect the monarchy because we are able to live today because of the monarchy," he added.

However, the party could still be banned under another pending charge of breaking election laws by taking a loan from its leader.

Read more: Opinion: Thailand's democratic dictatorship

What is the Future Foward Party?

The progressive party was formed in 2018 on a platform calling for an end to the military's influence on Thai politics, including seeking to reform the constitution, which was drafted after a military coup in 2014. Future Forward came third in national elections last year, winning 6.2 million votes from a mainly younger electorate.

Its leader, the auto parts billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is facing a number of allegations, including that the Future Forward Party accepted loans from Thanathorn, breaking electoral laws governing party funding.

The Constitutional Court also disqualified Thanathorn from acting as lawmaker last year, ruling he violated a regulation on media ownership.

Read more: Thailand election highlights a divided society

Watch video 03:08

Thailand’s young people lack trust in politics

kmm/rt (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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