Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Court accused of govt bias as Move Forward MP suspended for ‘media involvement’

Oct 28. 2020
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By The Nation

A court ruling to absolve 29 ruling coalition MPs but suspend an opposition MP over involvement in the media business caused outrage among pro-democracy netizens on Wednesday.

The Constitutional Court ruled that 29 coalition lawmakers were innocent of accusations they had stakes in media companies. However, Thanwarin Sukkhapisit, an MP for the opposition Move Forward Party, was suspended for what the court ruled was a lack of clarity over the accusation.

Six other MPs who were facing the same charge – three from the coalition and three from the opposition – resigned before the ruling.

The verdict triggered a wave of criticism on social media, where netizens accused the court of pro-government bias.

Move Forward was born from the ashes of the Future Forward Party, which was disbanded after the Constitutional Court ruled in February last year it had received illegal funding from its leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

Thanathorn was also disqualified as an opposition MP last November, after the court said that his 675,000 shares in V-Luck Media Co violated the Constitution.

The Election Commission (EC), which brought the case, cited rules against media influence during the election campaign.

Thanathorn said he sold the shares to his mother on January 8, but there was no record of the transaction at the Business Development Department.

The court then ruled that Thanathorn still possessed V-Luck Media’s shares on the day that the names of list-MP candidates were filed to the EC.

The dissolution of Future Forward triggered pro-democracy protests that resurfaced four months ago with demands for the government to step down, the military-scripted Constitution to be rewritten and the monarchy to be reformed.

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