Future Forward leader Thanathorn to continue political role outside parliament

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BANGKOK – After the Constitutional Court on Wednesday (Nov 20) ruled to disqualify the Future Forward Party leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, as member of parliament (MP) for having shares in a media company when applying to become MP, Mr. Thanathorn pledged to continue his political role outside the parliament. The Deputy Prime Minster, Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, said political movements can be organized outside the parliament but they must be within the scope of the law.

As the Election Commission (EC) may take further action against the Future Forward Party leader under Section 151 of the Organic Law on Elections, which specifies a jail term and a political ban for anyone found guilty of registering to run in MP elections while knowing that he or she is not qualified, Mr. Thanathorn said he was confident of his innocence and ready to fight the cases against him in court. The Future Forward leader said there will be a written statement to help people understand the court’s ruling better. Mr. Thanathorn said he will continue to support his political party’s work, particularly preparing candidates who will contest in local elections, campaigning for constitutional amendments and calling for the abolition of compulsory conscription. He insisted that he will not run in the next Bangkok gubernatorial election.

Gen. Prawit said people can join the Future Forward’s campaign to end military conscription as long as it is within the legal framework. He said the reason to end military conscription must be clear and there must be solutions to replace it. The Deputy Prime Minister insisted that the issue will not lead to street protests.

Speaking of the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s (NACC) handling of the incomplete oath issue, Gen. Prawit said the issue should end after a representative was sent to submit the clarification to the NACC. The parliament will consider whether legal action will be taken or a new chairman will be nominated. The Palang Pracharath Party has no policy to send its MPs to intervene in the committee’s work.

Gen. Prawit added that there were no conflicts of interest between the Palang Pracharath Party and its coalition partners, particularly the Bhumjaithai Party.