EC votes to take down Future Forward

Photo from Future Forward Party's Facebook Page.

Thanathorn’s loan to his own party seen as breach of law, decision rests with Constitutional Court

The Election Commission (EC) resolved on Wednesday (December 11) to ask a court to dissolve the Future Forward Party on the grounds that its executives borrowed Bt191 million from party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

In a short, written statement, the EC said it had determined that acceptance of the loan violated Article 72 of the Political Party Act and that a majority of commissioners voted to ask the Constitutional Court to disband Future Forward under Article 92 of the same legislation.

Article 72 prohibits parties and their executives from accepting donations of cash, assets or other benefits that they know, or should know, came from an unlawful source.

Article 92 allows the court to consider dissolving any party found in violation of Article 72.

If the party is dissolved, its 15 executives will be banned from politics for up to 10 years, with non-executive MPs would be free to join another party.

Thanathorn disclosed the loan while giving a talk at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand following the March election.

He also listed the loan in his mandated assets declaration filed with the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Party executives insisted the loan was legal, but in May, political activist Srisuwan Janya asked the EC to investigate whether the loan violated the law.

The 40-year-old billionaire-turned-politician founded Future Forward in March last year as a “third force” aiming to end a decade of political polarisation and unrest. Its bold moves against the arch-royalist establishment included stated intentions to bar the military from politics and curb its social influence.

The Constitutional Court ruled last month that Thanathorn be removed from office as an MP because he had registered for the March election while still holding shares in his family-run business, V Luck Media Co, in contravention of the Constitution.

It has yet to be resolved whether he will be banned from politics or even jailed and whether his conviction alone suffices to see his 20-month-old party disbanded.