Constitution Court : PPP is disbanded, Somchai is history

Thailand’s constitutional court on Tuesday dissolved the country’s ruling party and banned Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat from politics for five years over a case of voting fraud.

“The constitutional court unanimously agrees to disband the People Power Party,” said Chat Chonlaworn, head of the nine-judge Constitutional Court panel.

“As the court decided to dissolve the People Power Party, therefore the leader of the party and party executives must be banned from politics for five years,” he added. (AFP)

Done. The government collapses. Somchai is history.

This verdict was anticipated (even written in advance we could argue…). What is important is the day after.

And there is a serious shortage of information (read here). The lawyers and academics are nowhere to be seen.

It’s like an institutional terrae incognitae.

Here are 2 scenarios, by the Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies (Bangkok Post).

What is now unfolding is a sequel to 2006-07. But this time, the UDD through the embattled government of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat will hold its parliamentary ground and cling on to its democratic mandate from less than a year ago.

It will oppose all extra-constitutional and extra-parliamentary outcomes. If the PPP is dissolved by the Constitution Court – which remarkably appears to be a foregone conclusion – the UDD leadership has Puea Thai party as a reserve vehicle. It will insist on constitutional stipulations to elect a new prime minister from the Lower House, most likely another UDD-supported MP from Puea Thai.

The post-Somchai window, however, will allow the PAD and its backers to engineer an extra-parliamentary and extra-constitutional interim administration.

Certain clauses of the Constitution that require the prime minister to derive from the Lower House could be suspended by the judiciary. This prospect was announced at the UDD rally as a pre-emptive move. Yet the PAD and its high-powered cohorts may have to bite the bullet and come up with an interim, caretaker arrangement, as it is the only path towards what it sees as certain victory.

The interim period would then allow the PAD and its core supporters to reset the rules and constitutional configurations to their preference.

UPDATE

The Constitution Court unanimously dissolves Matchima Thipataya Party [small party member of the coalition with the PPP] and banned its executive board members from politics for five years.

The Constitution Court on Tuesday ruled 8 to 1 to dissolve Chart Thai Party and ban its executive board members for five years.


The high court opined that the punishment by disbandment was mandatory as sanctioned by Article 237 of the Constitution and that it had no leeway to selectively punish the party executives on the individual basis. (Nation)

UPDATE

No-1 Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul will become caretaker prime minister pending a meeting of the caretaker Cabinet, former PM’s Office Ministers Sukhumpong Ngonkham said Tuesday.

He said the caretaker Cabinet would make a former decision as to who should be caretaker prime minister replacing disqualified Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. (Nation)

And regarding the caretaker Cabinet, an important detail :

Of 36 Cabinet members, 22 are not affected by the party disbandment and can carry on in the caretaker administration. (Nation)

11 Responses to “Constitution Court : PPP is disbanded, Somchai is history”


  1. 1 Insanity 2 December 2008 at 6:08 am

    The interim period would then allow the PAD and its core supporters to reset the rules and constitutional configurations to their preference.

    Then UDD can lay sieges of Suvaranbhumi and Don Muang airports! Only far isn’t it?

  2. 2 FDL 2 December 2008 at 6:20 am

    I don’t know whether to smile or scowl at the judicial resolution of Somchai’s government. It was certainly timely.

    It was a unanimous decision btw . . . so that must mean the Thai courts are getting really fed-up and pissed by repeat electoral offenses committed by remnants of Thaksin’s former Thai-Love-Thai party.

    Amazing Thailand always amazes.

  3. 3 chinesethai 2 December 2008 at 6:22 am

    Bangkok now risks terror attack. Avoid visiting crowded places.

  4. 4 ThaiCrisis 2 December 2008 at 6:25 am

    “Insanity” has -unfortunatly- a very valid point there !
    😉

    The “red shirts” would copycat the PAD’s methods !

    As I wrote before, the “2006 nanny-military coup” can’t happen again. It was a one bullet gun…

    Thailand is living history today with this ruling. Maybe not for the best…

  5. 5 Wrongfred 2 December 2008 at 6:28 am

    Chinesethai..do you mean terror attacks by the “3rd hand” or the UDD?

  6. 6 Wrongfred 2 December 2008 at 6:30 am

    And I think an UDD uprising will be more violent too…

  7. 7 ThaiCrisis 2 December 2008 at 6:31 am

    And what about… the “invisible hand of the third party” (copyright myself) ? 😉

    More seriously, and without any doubt, the risk of violence has increased. UDD could decide that enough is enough.

    But… I think we haven’t see nothing.

    The ruling after all is not really important. It was anticipated (even written in advance some would say…).

    What is important is THE DAY AFTER.

    How things are going to be played on the institutional level.

  8. 8 Wrongfred 2 December 2008 at 6:34 am

    I have heard rumors that after the His Majesty the King’s birthday there might be riots. I hope these are only rumors and hot wind

  9. 9 Insanity 2 December 2008 at 6:50 am

    To protest the Constitution Court decision the ‘red Shirts” might also consider laying sieges to the remaining International Airports.
    Why not? It’s quite evident that anything goes in the land of stupidity.

    The “Red Shirts” and “Yellow Shirts” might then actually see what a load of idiots they are actually are and the damage done to their nation. But upon further reflection, probably not!

  10. 10 chinesethai 2 December 2008 at 6:56 am

    Wrongfred,

    Whether it is UDD Red Shirts, PPP, PTP, or unknown person, it all comes from the Square Face Man.

    What are they in existence for? Those greedy, crooked suckers and their supporters would say “we love democracy”. Obviously, they are in for Pro-Thaksin cause+money and nothing else.

  11. 11 Insanity 2 December 2008 at 7:04 am

    Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Tuesday made a measured reaction to the verdict to disband his People Power Party which has effectively caused the loss of his job and the collapse of the government.

    “I did my best to administer the country,” he said. (The Nation)

    I would hate to see his worst!


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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