Jittery times indeed as Bangkok prepares for the court verdict on two of its major political parties’s election fraud allegations. The military appointed Constitution Court will hand a verdict on the Democrat Party (the opposition) at 1330hours (GMT+7) while Thai Rak Thai’s (former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s political party) verdict will be handed at 1430hours (GMT+7).
Several bus have already trooped the two parties’ headquarters and around 100,000 people are expected to gather at the Sanam Luang. The king of Thailand has voiced concern on the effect of the verdict on the nation and reminded the judges that either way, they’ll be criticized. But as to whether the verdict, be pro or against the parties, would be for the best interest of Thailand–one would never know or it is still an event to watch.
|A policeman uses an explosives sniffer to check all areas in and around the Constitution Court on Chakkraphet road in Phahurat yesterday. — APICHART JINAKUL/bangkokpost.com|
If you happen to be here in Thailand, the Royal Thai Police has advised to avoid the following places as possible trouble areas:
- Sanam Luang, from today (30 May)
- The Royal Plaza, from 31 May
- Headquarters of the two main parties involved located at Rama VI road (Democrat Party HQ, near Chatuchak Market) and Navasorn Building at Rama III road
The police has placed various checkpoints around the areas of concern to limit the number of people joining the gatherings to a manageable level. If the situation deteriorates, a state of emergency might be declared (like the one that was declared down south), the Junta suggested.
Schools have been closed as precaution and most UN staff and foreign nationals were advised to avoid the said areas.
There’s also circulating email messages among Thais that Gen. Sonthi, leader of the Council for National Security, might do a Nepal. The email message argued that since Gen. Sonthi is a muslim, he might opt to transform Thailand into an Islamic country and scrap the monarchy. Most Thais that I talked to see the email message as crap but the email has still been widely circulated.
1750: The Constitution Tribunal found the Democrat Party NOT GUILTY of election fraud by conniving with smaller parties to lure Thai Rak Thai into illegally funding them.
22:30: The Constitution Tribunal found the Thai Rak Thai Pary (former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s party) guilty of election fraud. The party will be disbanded and its executives will be banned to run for public office for five years.
The Constitution Tribunal also found leaders of smaller parties guilty of being in cahoots with the TRT to fool the public that there were a number of parties running for the April elections last year.
The verdict marks the end to a prolonged uncertainty in the country’s political arena. What will happen tomorrow, though, remains to be seen.