Thai Raksa Chart Leaders to Be Present For Judgment Day

The moment Thai Raksa Chart Party leader Preechapol Pongpanich presented the nomination of Ubolratana Mahidol as prime minister to the Election Commission on Feb. 8 in Bangkok.

BANGKOK — Executives of an embattled party allied to former leader Thaksin Shinawatra said Wednesday they will be present in court tomorrow to hear the verdict that will decide their fate.

Judges at the Constitutional Court are set to take the dais Thursday morning and rule whether the Thai Raksa Chart Party violated voting law by drawing the monarchy into politics by nominating a former princess. Party leaders said they are prepared for anything.

“No matter what the verdict is, the party will humbly accept it,” Vim Rungwattanachinda told reporters Tuesday. “We have done everything we can.”

Former minister Chaturon Chaisang also tweeted Wednesday that he will be there to hear the verdict.

If found guilty, the party will be disbanded and its executives barred from politics up to 10 years. Violations of election laws are typically punished by a ban of five years, but offenses involving the monarchy double the penalty.

More than 200 candidates fielded by Thai Raksa Chart will also be removed from the race, an event that would threaten its political alliance’s chance to win the March 24 election. Thai Raksa Chart is allied to Pheu Thai and several other parties loyal to former premier Thaksin.

The case stems from Thai Raksa Chart’s nomination last month of Ubolratana Mahidol to be its prime minister candidate. Although she formally gave up her royal ranks four decades ago, she has been living the life of a royal for the better part of two decades since her return to the kingdom.

His Majesty the King said as much hours after her nomination, when he decreed that Ubolratana is a royal princess under the Chakri dynasty and effectively barred her from running. The king also called the nomination “extremely inappropriate.”

Faced with the possible annihilation of his party, a Thai Raksa Chart member prayed to a statue of a local heroine in Korat to avert their doom.

“I beseech Grandma Mo to inspire the Constitutional Court tribunal to have mercy and decide not to disband Thai Raksa Chart tomorrow,” said Wattanachai Suebsiriboon, the party’s local candidate.

The politician added that were his wish granted, he would show his gratitude by hanging his campaign posters upside-down till election day.