Reporters did not have an inkling of what was to transpire when the Election Commission on Monday suddenly advanced its agenda and voted 4:1 to recommend the dissolution of the Democrat Party for concealing a 258 million baht donation from TPI Polene and for the misuse of 29 million baht from the Political Party Support Fund, commented a Thai Rath writer.
Even reporters attached to the EC beat had no idea the commission’s ruling would come before April 20, the date on which the EC had promised to reach a decision on the Democrat dissolution case after hard-core red shirt Arisman Pongruengrong mobilised supporters to pressure the EC at its headquarters on Chaeng Watthana Road two weeks ago.
The EC’s near unanimous decision was seen as relaxing the pressure asserted by the red shirts over the issue of possible double standards.
The EC’s ruling is not final. The decision must be forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Office to consider before it is submitted to the Constitution Court for a final ruling. The Democrats still have time to delay the dissolution of the House if Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wants that option.
However, the red shirt army will not give in that easily and will continue to pressure the government to immediately dissolve the House as they know full well that if they relax the pressure, the Abhisit administration will choose to drag things out for as long as possible to consolidate his party’s power to fight the next general election.
The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders know they are fighting elite bureaucrats who made it possible for the quick dissolution of the People Power, Chart Thai and Matchimathipathai parties, which enabled the Democrat Party to come to power in December 2008.
Mr Abhisit was silent for two days after the bloody clashes on Saturday night. He even missed his regular weekly talk on NBT station on Sunday morning. Some political observers thought he might be so discouraged that he would either dissolve the House or resign to yield to the red shirts’ demands.
However, two days later Mr Abhisit came out firing, declaring the bloody clash was instigated by ”terrorists” among the red shirts and that the government would do everything to bring the culprits to justice.