Amid crisis, Thai poll body moves against PM’s party

BANGKOK (BestGrowthStock) – Thailand’s poll watchdog on Monday set in motion a procedure it hopes will lead to the disbanding of embattled Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s party over suspected donation irregularities,

It is a process that could take months amid protests by anti-Abhisit “red shirts” who shouted in celebration at their main protest site in the city.

The Election Commission agreed with the findings of state investigators that the ruling Democrat Party illegally obtained a donation of 258 million baht ($8 million) from a listed company five years ago.

Last week the red shirts, who want Abhisit to resign immediately, marched on the commission’s office demanding it speed up its investigation into the Democrat Party’s affairs.

Clashes in Bangkok between the protesters and the army on Saturday killed 21 people.

The commission asked prosecutors to press charges against Abhisit’s party, but it could take months before any ruling.

The commission used a similar mechanism to oust the coalition government supported by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2008. It took two months for the Constitutional Court to rule.

“The Election Commission voted 4 to 1 to forward the case to the Office of the Attorney-General to ask the Constitutional Court to decide on the case,” Commissioner Somchai Juengprasert told Reuters after the decision.

Red shirt leader Nattawut Saikua said protesters were celebrating.

“This could lead to the end of the Democrat Party which has sided with the dictatorial elite since the day it was formed,” he said.

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(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Ambika Ahuja, Writing by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Amid crisis, Thai poll body moves against PM’s party