Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thai Constitutional Court ruling on dissolution of ruling party

UPDATE: 13:00 Bangkok time

"Thai court orders ruling party dissolved and bans prime minister from politics for five years," CNN reports.

See here for more.

10:00 Bangkok time

The Times reports on a grenade explosion at Don Mueang airport:

An anti-government protester has been killed and antoher 22 wounded in a grenade attack on a Bangkok airport. . . .

The blast at Don Mueang came hours before hundreds of pro government supporters sealed off Bangkok's Constitutional Court, forcing it to move.

Judges will decide as early as this afternoon whether to disolve the three party coalition government for electoral fraud.

Pro-government supporters, wearing their signal red shirts and headbands reading "Love Thaksin' have gathered en masse around the court building, setting up makeshift stages on trucks.

They are faced off against hundreds of police and soldiers who are deployed around the building as fears of violent clahses between pro and anti government supporters grow.

Even befor the Court announces its verdict, government MPs have declared it a "coup in disguise" and promised their supporters will oppose it.

Mr Somchai will be forced to step down and banned from politics for five years along with all other leaders of his People's Power Party and executives if the court dissolves the PPP.

Some government MPS say they will join another party and form a government if the coalition is dissolved.

It's 08:25 in Bangkok, 01:25 in London, 20:25 in NY City

Matichon reports that the time and place of the announcement of the Constitutional Court ruling concerning the possible dissolution of the governing PPP Party of Thailand has been (slightly) changed.

Rather than 09:30, the announcement will take place at 10:00 Tuesday. And the location of the announcement has been changed to the Administrative Court building. There was talk that pro-government demonstrators would be surrounding the Constitutional Court building.

The Thai-language paper also reports that most likely the court will announce the disbandment of three political parties -- PPP, Chart Thai, and Machimathipathai -- of the ruling coalition.

A well-connected Thai source has informed me that the government may choose to dissolve parliament, but it would have to do so before the Constitutional Court ruling is handed down (in 90 minutes). Alternatively, the source speculates that the other coalition parties might join the opposition Democrats and form a new government. Thirdly, in the event of dissolution, another possibility the source presented was that a new government would be formed by the remaining parties that had been members of the governing coalition. In the third scenario, the office of Prime Minister would go to one of three figures: Police Captain Charlerm (now Health Minister), Mingkwaun (now Industry Minister?), or Apichai (Deputy Speaker of the House).

Concerning the second option, this Bangkok Post article explored the PPP's option to disolve parliament, [update: Bangkok Pundit has a more recent analysis of this option and its chances (not good) of going ahead]. An article in the Nation had included speculation along the lines mentioned to me in the third point above.

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