Leader of anti-junta party suspended from Parliament, Latest World News - The New Paper

Leader of anti-junta party suspended from Parliament

This article is more than 12 months old

BANGKOK: A court in Thailand suspended the leader of an anti-junta political party as a member of Parliament yesterday, a day ahead of the opening of the legislature for the first time since the disputed March 24 election.

The Election Commission endorsed rising political star Mr Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, 40, as a member of Parliament this month but it later launched a case against him over his alleged illegal holding of shares in a media company.

Mr Thanathorn is now barred from taking up his seat pending a ruling by the Constitutional Court, which could see him permanently disqualified.

"The court has unanimously decided to accept the case for consideration and will send a document asking the accused to refute the charge within 15 days," the court said in a statement.

The court did not say when it would deliver a verdict but said the suspension was necessary because Mr Thanathorn's role as a member of Parliament could "cause legal problems" for the legislature.

Mr Thanathorn's new progressive, youth-oriented Future Forward Party came a surprise third in the March general election and has joined up with an opposition "democratic front" that aims to block junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha from staying on as Prime Minister.

The Election Commission accused Mr Thanathorn of breaching the Constitution by holding shares in a media company after registering as a candidate for the election.

Mr Thanathorn has denied the charge and said he had already transferred his shares before he officially registered. - REUTERS