- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
Two corruption cases haunt Thai leader
Political party may fade away
BANGKOK | Two corruption cases threaten to unseat Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, dissolve his political party and hobble the bickering coalition that administers Thailand’s military-backed government.
Prosecutors in the office of the attorney general have presented charges to the Constitutional Court accusing Mr. Abhisit’s Democrat Party of receiving illegal donations worth more than $8 million from a major cement petrochemical company, TPI Polene, in 2005.
If the Constitutional Court returns a guilty verdict in either case, the party could be disbanded and its leaders — including Mr. Abhisit — could be ousted and banned from holding public office for five years.
“We will respect and follow the decision of the court,” the soft-spoken prime minister said.
The Political Party Act of 1998 calls for the liquidation of political organizations found guilty of corruption, including accepting illegal donations and misusing public funds. In 2007, the punishment was expanded to include banning top party officials from holding public office for five years.
Democrat Party officials are expected to argue that any violations they may have committed in 2005 should not be subject to the increased punishments, which came into effect two years later.
If the party is convicted and dissolved under the 1998 version of the act, Mr. Abhisit and his top executives could jump to a new political party to try to stay in power. Parliamentarians then could make deals to unite the coalition behind the new party and even keep Mr. Abhisit as prime minister.
The Constitutional Court, however, has ruled twice that the act’s 2007 version is valid when applied retroactively, and has dissolved five political parties and banned their leaders from holding office. The court’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Conviction under the 2007 version would create a vacuum at the top of Thailand’s squabbling political pyramid. The toppled politicians could try to staff a new party headed by unblemished Democrat Party officials, one of whom could be tapped to fill the prime minister post.
A new party, named Thai Khem Khaeng (Strong Thailand), was registered on June 4, prompting speculation in the Thai media that the Democrat Party was behind the move.
However, there are some facts that suggest the Democrat Party’s influence:
• The new party’s name apparently is inspired by Mr. Abhisit’s $44 billion “Thai Khem Khaeng 2012” economic stimulus program, which he announced in 2009 to support Thailand’s economic recovery and make the country more competitive within three years.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- WILLIAMS: Bill Maher, comedian or bigot?
- NYT's David Brooks: Obama has 'manhood problem' in Middle East
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.