Thailand’s progressive Move Forward party braces for court case that might dissolve it

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Former leader of Move Forward party Pita Limjaroenrat, right, talks to reporters during a news conference at the party’s office in Bangkok, Thailand on June 9. (AP)

BANGKOK, June 9, (AP): The former leader of Thailand’s progressive opposition Move Forward party vowed on Sunday to keep fighting as the party faces a court case that could result in its dissolution.
The Constitutional Court has agreed to rule on whether the party violated the constitution by proposing to amend a law that forbids defaming the country’s royal family. The petition requested the party’s dissolution and a 10-year ban on political activity by its executives. The court has not said when it will rule on this case.
Pita Limjaroenrat, the former leader of Move Forward, laid out the details of the party’s legal defenses that have been submitted to the court at a news conference on Sunday.
“If there is a rule of law in Thailand, I’m extremely confident” the party’s arguments will prevail, he said.
Pita said the Constitutional Court does not have jurisdiction to rule on this case and that the petition filed by the Election Commission did not follow due process because Move Forward was not given an opportunity to defend itself before the case was submitted to the court.
The petition was filed after the same court ruled in January that the party must stop advocating changes to the law, known as Article 112 in Thailand’s criminal codes, which protects the monarchy from criticism by imposing penalties of three to 15 years in jail per offense.
That ruling did not set any punishment for the party.

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