Thai court accepts complaints against PM, opposition leaders

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Constitutional Court accepted complaints against the prime minister and two opposition party leaders Friday in cases that could disqualify them from office.

The court said it has accepted a complaint against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha sent by 110 members of Parliament who seek his disqualification because he held another government position as junta leader.

The court also said in the statement that it accepted complaints against two leaders of the Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Piyabutr Saengkannokul, who are accused of attempting to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

The court allowed the defendants 15 days to submit their arguments but did not indicate when it would rule.

The courts in Thailand have regularly ruled in favor of the conservative establishment that includes the military.

Prayuth led a military coup in 2014 and oversaw the junta that enacted new electoral laws giving him an advantage in March elections. It virtually assured he would continue leading the government since the prime minister would be chosen in a joint vote by the elected House and the appointed Senate. He was elected in June by a vote of 500 to 244 for Thanathorn.

Piyabutr, the Future Forward Party’s secretary-general, said in a Facebook post late Friday that his party is not trying to overthrow the constitutional monarchy and alleged that the military coup had undermined Thailand’s system of government.

The Constitutional Court said it would not suspend Prayuth while it considers his case because he does not pose a damaging threat and because the complaint did not seek his suspension.

In May, the court blocked Thanthorn from taking his seat in Parliament after it agreed to consider a case over whether he violated a rule against lawmakers holding shares in media companies.

Thanathorn has said he is not guilty because the shares were transferred before he contested the election. However, the court said it was suspending him because his potential guilt would obstruct the House’s work.

The court did not suspend 32 members of Parliament in Prayuth’s coalition who face similar complaints because it said those cases had not been filed and processed by an investigative committee.

The court said Friday it would rule on Aug. 27 against four former ministers accused by the Election Commission of holding shares in companies that have government concessions.

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