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Thailand court dissolves opposition Future Forward

Christian Fernsby |
Thailand's Constitutional Court today ordered the disbandment of the Future Forward Party, the country's second largest opposition group, ruling that it illegally accepted funds from its founder.

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Sixteen executive members, of which 11 are parliamentarians, will be banned from running for office or being involved in a new party for 10 years.

The party announced that it will accept the verdict.

Opponents of Thailand's pro military government see the decision as a blow to their efforts to restore the country to full democracy. Critics have sounded the alarm over a clampdown on the opposition by the pro-military government.

Political parties in Thailand are legally barred from accepting cash donations, properties or any other benefits of more than 10 million baht ($320,000) from any one individual. The party's 41 year-old leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, pumped 191 million baht into Future Forward to fund its general election campaign last March. A petition filed by the Election Commission of Thailand called the funding a donation. Thanathorn insisted it was a loan. The court judged that it was an illegal "benefit," as the loan had a very low interest rate.

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