Accusations of political manipulation at the constitutional court
SINCE 2006, when the armed forces ousted the then prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s constitutional court has dissolved two popular pro-Thaksin parties and disqualified hundreds of his allies. Now it may be the turn of the ruling Democrat Party, which is accused of campaign-finance fraud. A final hearing in the first of two cases is scheduled for November 29th.
The party denies wrongdoing. Yet in the court of public opinion, it is the judges themselves who are in the dock. A series of leaked videos posted on YouTube by “ohmygod3009” has dealt a blow to the court’s standing. In one, a member of parliament for the Democrat Party appears to be lobbying the secretary to the court president, Chat Cholaworn, to go easy on the party. In other videos, senior judges appear to discuss how to cover up the leaking of exam papers to relatives applying for jobs at the court. A new batch of YouTube videos released on November 8th, and swiftly blocked in Thailand by court order, also relate to alleged nepotism in hiring. More videos are promised. “Hold on tight,” exhorts a mysterious poster.