Gov’t Allies Warn Future Forward Against Protests

Forward Party chairman Thanathorn Juangrungruangkit speaks at a rally on Nov. 16, 2019, in Bangkok.

BANGKOK — Coalition politicians on Monday urged the opposition not to resort to any demonstration in response to a court verdict this week that would decide the fate of Future Forward Party chairman Thanathorn Juangrungruangkit.

Phalang Pracharath Party executive Puttipong Punnakan said a protest could worsen economic malaise afflicting Thailand, while a Democrat spokesman warned that criticizing the court decision might result in criminal charges.

“No one wants any inappropriate incident to happen,” Puttipong, who also serves as a digital economy minister, told reporters. “No one wants to see protest or anything that could lead to a burden on the public.”

He added, “Now that we have to fight with the slump in the global economy, we have to join hands together.”

Democrat Party spokesman Ramet Rattanachaweng said supporters of the Future Forward Party should think twice before attacking or harassing the judiciary for Wednesday’s verdict.

“Do not use methods like intimidating the Constitutional Court,” Ramet said. “No one knows what the court may decide, but whatever the result is, everyone must respect it. Otherwise, an endless cycle of unrest will follow.”

The complaint filed by the Election Commission and later taken up by the Constitutional Court accused Thanathorn of breaching voting laws by owning shares in media firms when he ran for the March 24 election.

If found guilty, Thanathorn faces up to 10 years in prison. He may also be banned from politics for a maximum of 20 years.

Thanathorn has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying he already sold those shares by the time he signed up to run for office.