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Thai Raksa Chart pleads for fair treatment from Election Commission

Feb 13. 2019
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By The Nation

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The embattled Thai Raksa Chart Party has requested "fair treatment" from the Election Commission (EC) regarding a possible decision by the agency to seek a Constitutional Court verdict on whether the party should be disbanded.

There was speculation on Tuesday that the EC would ask the court to rule on the dissolution of Thai Raksa Chart over its controversial nomination of Princess Ubolratana as its sole prime ministerial candidate.

Thai Raksa Chart will on Wednesday file a protest with the EC, asking for its explanation to be heard, the party's chief legal adviser, Pichit Chuenban, said on Tuesday.

Pichit said that although the EC is empowered by law to seek Constitutional Court verdicts on alleged wrongdoings involving political parties, it could not do so without gathering sufficient evidence from the accused party. He cited the Political Parties Act and the Constitution.

"Evidence gathering should not be done in a one-sided way. The international standard must be followed to ensure fairness to all," the legal expert said.

The EC on Tuesday did not reach any conclusion on whether to approach the Constitutional Court for dissolution of Thai Raksa Chart. EC president Ittiporn Boonpracong said the agency would continue discussions on the matter on Wednesday.

On Monday, Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, submitted a petition for the EC to investigate Thai Raksa Chart's nomination of Princess Ubolratana. He asked the EC to refer the case to the Constitutional Court seeking dissolution of the party, for violating the law and regulation that prohibits political parties from using the Royal family in their election campaigning.

The party announced last Friday that the 67-year-old Princess, who is His Majesty the King's elder sister, was nominated as its PM candidate. On Friday night, King Maha Vajiralongkorn said in a statement broadcast nationwide that Princess Ubolratana's candidacy for prime minister was "extremely inappropriate and unconstitutional".

On Monday, the EC disqualified Ubolratana from running for prime minister, because "every member of the Royal Family comes within the application of the same rule requiring the monarchy to be above politics and to be politically neutral".

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