Pattaya Daily News

30 November 2010 :: 11:11:32 am 46827

PM concerned over possible protest as court dismisses Democrat Party dissolution case

BANGKOK, Nov 29 - Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday expressed concern over possible protests after Constitution Court ruled to dismiss Democrat Party dissolution case involving the alleged misuse of Bt29 million of political campaign funds, while urging all parties to respect the country's judicial process.
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Speaking to a news conference held on his behalf as leader of the ruling Democrat Party, Mr Abhisit thanked the party’s legal team, especially former party leader and prime minister Chuan Leekpai and lawyer Bandit Siriphan for their contributions in defending the case.

Mr Abhisit pledged to continue his work in the country’s administration and in maintaining law and order, saying every party should respect and accept the country’s judicial system.

The premier said he had instructed national police chief Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree before the court issued the verdict to prepare security measures in relation to any incident which may occur after the ruling.

As the Democrat Party still faces dissolution in respect to an unlawful Bt258 million ($8 million) donation received from a private firm, Mr Abhisit said he cannot predict the result as it is different to today’s case.

The ruling party leader said, that for his part, he will speed up making tangible a national reconciliation process and country reform by the year end.

When asked about an accusation by the Opposition Puea Thai Party that the court ruling represents a double standard, Mr Abhisit said double standard means that different practices are applied to cases which are the same, and that the two cases involving the Democrat Party would not fall in this category as the second case is quite different from the previous political party dissolution cases.

Mr Abhisit explained that former party leader Chuan Leekpai said in his closing statement to the court that the case of Democrat Party is unlike other cases and the court must clarify the matter to society as well as distribute its verdict with the facts.

Mr Abhisit also expressed concern over possible demonstrations, but he said such occurrence would not be a factor in any House dissolution.

Opposition Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said that the court ruling was not unexpected, but questioned why the court had taken so long instead of dropping the case since the beginning.

Mr Prompong said the Puea Thai Party’s legal team will discuss the issue for further reaction.

Meanwhile, EC commissioner Prapan Naikowit said on Monday that all parties should accept the court ruling as it is considered final, while saying further the poll agency and the political party registrar have done their best.

Another poll commissioner, Somchai Chuengprasert, commented that the court should not have taken a nearly a year to call witnesses to a hearing if they would issue such a verdict.

Mr Somchai reasoned the public missed the chance to hear whether the Democrat Party is guilty or not in the alleged misuse of Bt29 million of political campaign funds following the Monday court’s ruling.

He conceded, however, that the EC will have to review its role and the overall work of the agency although other members are not involved with the case.

The Constitution Court today dismissed the dissolution case against the country’s oldest political party over its alleged misuse of Bt29 million ($960,000) in political campaign funding, saying the filing complaint process lodged by the Election Commission (EC) was unlawful.

Six judges of the Constitution Court on Monday voted 4:2 Monday afternoon after hearing the closing statements delivered by lead prosecutor Kitinan Thatpramuk and Democrat chief adviser Chuan Leekpai.

The court reasoned that the EC complaint was not done in accordance with Article 93 of the Political Party Act and that the case had not been filed with the Constitution Court within 15 days after the poll agency had ruled on the case.

If found guilty, the Democrat Party could be dissolved and its executives could be banned from politics for five years, including prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who at that time was a deputy party leader.

Although the court dropped the case regarding the misuse of Bt29 million for political campaign funding, the ruling party still faces another lawsuit involving a Bt258 million donation from TPI Polene Plc, a leading Thai cement manufacturer, founded by former Matchimatipatai Party leader Prachai Leophairatana.

The case is expected to be heard next year. (MCOT online news)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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