The Constitutional Court in Bangkok ruled Tuesday afternoon to dissolve three key parties in the ruling coalition, which may clear the way to end the political standoff that has seen anti-government protesters occupy Bangkok’s two main airports. The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have said they will only leave once the government goes.
The People’s Power Party, Chart Thai and Matchimathipataya Parties were all found guilty, unanimously by the nine judges, of vote buying in the December 2007 election and will have to disband under a tough new election law that bans executives of those parties from politics for five years. However, it does not mean the government must resign, since only 11 of the ministers, along with the Prime Minister must vacate their positions.
The PAD have however said they will only end their destructive protest if the entire cabinet goes. Their objective has, from the start, been to unseat any government that is seen as a proxy of exiled fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. There have been increasing calls for the House to be dissolved to end the deadlock, but the coalition has insisted on hanging on to ‘protect their democratically elected position’.
An end to the standoff might not be in sight if the People’s Power Party, widely seen as Thaksin’s proxy, insist on continuing their administration by forming a new impromptu party to which its MPs intend to migrate to. Meanwhile, supporters of the government, decked out in red, tried to lay siege to the Court House to prevent, what they described as a ‘rushed decision’. Their reaction to the ruling might create unrest in Bangkok in the coming days.
Thailand’s political stability has been rocked by the latest ante, after brewing all year in a standoff between supporters of Thaksin and his government, and those who see them as incompetent and interested only in measures to exonerate the former leader from corruption charges and verdicts.
With 300,000 tourists now stranded and cancellations mounting, pressure has been mounting from all sides for both sides to compromise and bring an end to the ruinous protest action that has been costly to the tourist season.