Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Winning party now in a grave situation

Winning party now in a grave situation

Thai Rath Editorial _ The People Power party has our sympathies. After winning the Dec 23 general election and securing a deal to form a coalition government, the party now faces the prospect of being dissolved. The PPP comprises mostly former members of the Thai Rak Thai party, which was dissolved by the Constitution Tribunal last May for electoral fraud. The tribunal also banned its 111 executive members, including former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, from politics for five years.

The new Election Act and the new Constitution have set more conditions under which a party may be dissolved. These conditions include activities considered detrimental to the democratic system and national security as well as breaches of regulations set by the Election Commission.

The EC is empowered to disqualify election candidates for poll fraud, but its decisions must be endorsed by the Council of State. It may also propose the dissolution of a party whose leader or any of its executive committee members is involved in vote buying or abets it. But its recommendations must be approved by the Constitution Court.

Political parties can no longer take it easy like in the past. They must take care that all their candidates play by the rules. It takes just one executive member _ if he is caught buying votes _ to bring the party down.

The EC has not endorsed the election of several PPP candidates. Some may be given a yellow card _ which allows them to contest a by-election _ and some may be red-carded and thus lose their seat. The PPP is also accused of being a nominee for Mr Thaksin, who has been in exile since his government was ousted in a coup on Sept 19, 2006. It remains to be seen whether this accusation will cause the PPP to be dissolved.

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