Piyabutr: Charter Court Has No Power to Dissolve Parties

Future Forward sec-gen Piyabutr Saengkanokkul speaks at a news conference on Feb. 18, 2020.

BANGKOK — Future Forward sec-gen Piyabutr Saengkanokkul on Tuesday said the Constitutional Court has no mandate to dissolve political parties – a last ditch effort to defend his party from a possible disbandment on Friday.

Piyabutr, a former law lecturer at Thammasat University, said no article in the current charter authorizes the court to dissolve parties at its behest. His party is accused of receiving an illegal loan from its billionaire founder, which could result in its dissolution.

“These powers only exist under Article 92 of Political Parties Law, so the Constitutional Court must deliberate first whether at Article 92 of Political Party Law is constitutional or not,” Piyabutr said.

He also defended the 191 million baht loan they received from party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to the party as necessary means for a newly-established party. Piyabutr said the party had no savings like older parties, and they could not raise substantial amounts of cash in time.

The Election Commission, which brought the case against the party, said Article 72 of Political Parties Law prohibited parties and executives from accepting cash donations from illegitimate sources. The commission says the loan counts as donation.

But Piyabutr said a loan is not an income or donations because the party has already started repaying the debt to Thanathorn. He didn’t say when the repayment would be completed, but added that the party will continue to sell party memorabilia to raise funds.