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Prospects of dissolution rocks ruling coalition


March 23, 2008

Prospects of dissolution rocks ruling coalition

Three ruling parties in Thailand’s coalition government are facing the threat of dissolution for alleged involvement in electoral fraud cases in the general elections last December.

People Power Party (PPP), the leading party in the coalition, is seeking support to amend the charter and related laws to do away with rules on party dissolution.

Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee, who is secretary-general of PPP, has urged all political parties to lodge a joint motion seeking amendments to the 2007 constitution and three related laws, saying the poll fraud cases have led to a drop in investor and business confidence, reflected in a sharp drop in the local stock market.

Earlier in March, Yongyuth Tiyapairat, a PPP executive who is also House Speaker, was found by the Election Commission to have violated electoral law.

If the Supreme Court's Crime Section for Political Office Holders upholds the EC's decision against Yongyuth, it could lead to a process whereby the PPP is dissolved.

The Election Commission is scheduled to decide early April whether the poll fraud alleged to have been conducted by executives of Chart Thai and Matchimathipataya parties will lead to the parties' dissolution or not.

Meanwhile, there was mixed public response to the possible dissolution of the parties. A recent Suan Dusit Poll, conducted among 2,056 people nationwide March 20-22, found that some 45.5 percent opposed dissolution of the three parties, saying they fear such a dissolution would lead to further political turmoil, which will in turn worsen the economy.

About 27 percent of the repondents believe the dissolution will foster more political transparency, though.

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