Thai students have announced plans to stage a protest against a court’s decision that would dissolve the country’s second largest opposition party. The students were particularly upset given that this court decision comes a year after Thai citizens elected to end direct military rule.
The constitutional court disbanded the Future Forward Party for accepting loans from its founders, and had also banned 16 other party executives from politics for 10 years. This ban includes the party’s popular leader, Juangroongruangkit.
With the ban, the position of the coalition led by the current Prime Minister has been strengthened. The Prime Minister first took power in a 2014 military coup. Both human rights group and democracy advocates are criticising the court’s ruling for targeting political opposition.
Read the full article on Channel News Asia: Thai students to protest banning of popular opposition party
There is a question of whether the authorities are using the judicial processes to intimidate, harass and target political opposition. It would be contrary to the principles of justice to use the judicial courts to take out political opposition since it stifles democratic debates and seeks to cow opponents away from dissenting with the majority government.
The ban on the opposition party was particularly injurious to Thai democracy since they were on the pathway to restore democratic rule after a military dictatorship. Given that the Future Forward Party received more than 6 million votes in the elections last year, this ban also voids their votes without any just cause.
Questions for further personal evaluation:
- What do you think are the adverse effects, if any, of silencing the political opposition using judicial means?
- If you were to organise a protest, what would you protest about? Are there other means of creating awareness about a particular issue besides protesting?
- ‘cow’: cause (someone) to submit to one’s wishes by intimidation
- ‘injurious’: causing or likely to cause damage or harm