Why did the court dismiss the case against the Democrats?
Share this on

Why did the court dismiss the case against the Democrats?

Section 93 of the Political Parties Act 2007:

Where a political party must be dissolved by virtue of its own regulations, but that political party still has members in the House of Representatives, or where a political party has not complied with Section 42 paragraph two or Section 82, that political party shall be dissolved.
/>[paragraph 2] When the Registrar deems that the circumstances specified in paragraph one apply, the Registrar shall, with the consent of the Election Commission, file a motion with the Constitutional Court within fifteen days of the date of the appearance of such circumstance. If the Constitutional Court considers that the circumstance applies to the political party as described by the Registrar, the Court shall issue an order dissolving the political party.

Section 82:

A political party receiving a subsidy must spend it in accordance with the provisions of this Part and Part V: Expenditure of Political Parties, and shall prepare and submit an accurate report of the expenses from each calendar year’s subsidy to the Election Commission by March of the following year. Section 42 paragraph two shall be applied mutatis mutandis.

BP: Thai language text available here. Translation into English available from here:

The Constitution Court decision, per Matichon, states that the EC met on December 17, 2009 and by a majority resolved that the Democrats should be dissolved on the two charges (17 ธันวาคม 2552 ในการประชุมของคณะกรรมการการเลือกตั้งครั้งที่ 144/2552 ได้พิจารณาคดียุบพรรคประชาธิปัตย์ทั้ง 2). Even though later on April 21, 2010 the EC meet and resolved that they should file a case with the Constitution Cour to dissolve the Democrats (แม้ว่าต่อ มาวันที่ 21 เมษายน 2553 คณะกรรมการการเลือกตั้งจะมีมติเป็นเอกฉันท์ ในการประชุมครั้งที่ 43/2553 เห็นชอบให้ผู้ร้องในฐานะนายทะเบียนพรรคการเมืองยื่นคำร้องต่อศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ ให้ยุบพรรค) but the period of 15 days as specified in Section 93, paragraph 2 started as of December 17, 2010. When the motion was filed on April 26, 2010 more than 15 days had passed as specified by law so the process for filing a motion is not in accordance with the law (เมื่อ ผู้ร้องยื่นคำร้องคดีนี้ในวันที่ 26 เมษายน 2553 กระบวนการยื่นคำร้องขอให้ยุบพรรคของผู้ถูกร้องจึงไม่ชอบด้วยกฎหมายและไม่ชอบ). Therefore, the Constitution Court by a majority of 4:2 holds that the process for filing a motion is not in accordance with the law so no need to consider further issues and dismisses the case (ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญจึงวินิจฉัยโดยเสียงข้างมาก 4 ต่อ 2 ว่ากระบวนการยื่นคำร้องขอให้ยุบพรรคผู้ถูกร้องไม่ชอบด้วยกฎหมายกรณีนี้จึง ไม่จำเป็นต้องวินิจฉัยในกรณีอื่นอีกต่อไปให้ยกคำร้อง).

So the EC seems to view the 15 days as counting from their April 21 meeting; whereas the majority of the Court views it steming from the December 17 meeting.

Not so sure that the Democrats will escape in 250 million baht donation case as that is not related to Section 82 or Section 93, it relates to provisions on donations and the relevant provision is Section 95 which doesn’t impose filing within 15 days.

NOTE: Understand the Court decided that the offence would be under the 1998 Act so it would be roughly equivalent to Section 82.