The popular matre of Thailand’s anti-military parliamentary bloc appeared in bref on Friday accused among breaching election rules from owning media shares, in a situation which could see him prohibited from politics and jailed for up to 10 years.
Thanathorn has been suspended from legislative house since the election commission reproached him of breaking polling laws Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP
Billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, 42, has rattled the kingdom’s establishment since seizing each of our political limelight with his criticisms of the army’s role having Thai politics and humankind, and vision for the place’s future.
That Future Forward Party energised voters and became the third larger political group in Thailand in a March election which ended five years of outright junta rule.
The party was backed by millions of young people wearied by the dominance of the conservative old guard.
But Thanathorn’s electoral success has been matched by a battery of legal woes.
He has been suspended from parliament since the Election Commission accused him of breaking polling laws by holding media shares – an offence that carries a long jail term.
Arriving for the first hearing at the Constitutional Court on Friday, Thanathorn again pleaded his innocence telling reporters the media company had ceased operations five months before the election.
“We are convinced that there is no evidence,” he said.
His supporters say the case has been trumped up to take out Thailand’s most popular politician and deliver a major blow to the FFP and its radical reform agenda.
The party wants to amend the constitution to excise the military’s influence, slash defence spending and end conscription to an army that has carried out a coup at an average of once every seven years since the 1932 establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
“The party is against the military… I support their vision and I absolutely support Mr Thanathorn,” Punjarat Wattawongvibul, 35, told AFP outside the court.
The highly-interventionist court disbanded a different anti-military opposition party linked to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra before we get on to the March election.
Thanathorn has also been designated by the kingdom’s powerful affiliate internet marketing chief.
All around Apirat Kongsompong last week sent a diatribe warning from the spectre of a communist rebellion in a speech peppered now with barely-concealed references to Thanathorn and his party.
Future Forward has been a infrequent voice of criticism while combating Thailand’s royalist establishment.
The monarchy, some world’s richest and walked by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, is at the apex related to Thai power.
On Thursday 70 Long term future Forward MPs voted in a royal decree moving two key army types to the direct control of each of our king – an freakish political objection to a majestätisch command.
The most important decree was still approved by using parliament with an overwhelming most.