June 25, 2006

Thai PM says party did nothing wrong in April poll

Kitiphong Thaicharoen

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
said on Sunday his ruling party had done nothing wrong as it
faces possible dissolution over alleged violation of election

"How can it be dissolved? The Thai Rak Thai party has done
nothing wrong. There should not be any disbanding," Thaksin
told reporters after meeting with his party members.

"We will have a party meeting on July 4 to discuss its
direction and readiness for the next election," he said,
referring to a fresh poll scheduled for October 15 after a
controversial April general election was annulled by the

Prosecutors will decide on Tuesday whether to ask the
Constitutional Court to disband Thaksin's party for paying
smaller parties to run in the April vote which was boycotted by
the three main opposition parties.

The case stems from a probe report last month by an
Election Commission panel which found two Thai Rak Thai leaders
gave two fringe parties money to run against the ruling party,
a charge Thai Rak Thai denies.

The Political Parties Act says a party could face
dissolution if it broke election rules that threatened national
security, peace and order, or the constitutional monarchy.

However, any dissolution would have to be ordered by the
Constitutional Court.

The April poll included constituencies where Thai Rak Thai
candidates ran uncontested due to the opposition boycott and
failed to win their seats because they did not get a required
20 percent of the eligible vote.

With seats left unfilled, parliament could not meet to form
a new government and the courts later ruled the election
unlawful after a royal intervention to end the political

Despite the Election Commission's ruling against Thai Rak
Thai, prosecutors must decide whether the two party officials
involved had acted with the party's consent, political analysts
have said.

If they find that the two acted alone, the party could
avoid being disbanded.

Thaksin called the April election to counter a
Bangkok-based street campaign in which foes accused him of
corruption and abuse of power, charges he denies.

Adding to Thaksin's woes, his top legal adviser Wissanu
Krea-ngam, one of seven deputy prime ministers, quit the
cabinet on Saturday, following lawyer Borwornsak Uwanno, who
resigned as Cabinet Secretary-General earlier this month.

Wissanu gave no reason for his departure while Borwornsak
said he could no longer perform his duty under the "changing
environment of a country seized by an unusual situation."

Early on Saturday, two fake hand grenades were thrown into
the compound of Thai Rak Thai headquarters in Bangkok.

"We believe a certain group wants to cause damage to the
country. We have to be careful," Suranand Vejjajiva, a minister
attached to the Prime Minister's Office, told reporters.