Bangkok One News
Home » Four Thai court cases that could unleash political crisis
Bangkok News Breaking News Politics

Four Thai court cases that could unleash political crisis

Four Thai court cases that could unleash political crisis

Thailand is facing a critical week of court cases that could ignite a political crisis in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, with the futures of both the prime minister and the main opposition at stake. Four significant cases involving the country’s top politicians—Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the popular opposition Move Forward party, and upper-house lawmakers—will be heard on Tuesday.

For decades, Thai politics has been shaped by a struggle between the conservative-royalist establishment, supported by the military, and populist parties such as those backed by Thaksin and the current opposition Move Forward party. “These cases highlight the fragility and complexity of Thailand’s political climate,” ANZ Research noted. “On the economic front, the immediate concerns are the potential for disruptive protests and delays to fiscal policy implementation.”


Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, a political novice who took office last August, has been accused by a group of conservative senators of breaching the constitution by appointing a former lawyer with a conviction record to his cabinet. Srettha denies any wrongdoing but could face dismissal if the Constitutional Court rules against him. Should he be removed from office, a new government must be formed, and his ruling Pheu Thai party would need to propose a new candidate for premier to be voted on by parliament. The court is expected to announce the next hearing or verdict date on Tuesday.


Thaksin Shinawatra, the influential former prime minister ousted in a 2006 military coup, is to be formally indicted in a Bangkok criminal court for allegedly insulting the royalty and other charges related to a 2015 media interview. The court will decide whether to grant bail to the billionaire politician, who maintains his innocence. Thailand’s lese-majeste law, one of the world’s strictest, carries a maximum jail sentence of up to 15 years for each perceived royal insult. Thaksin returned to Thailand last August after 15 years of self-imposed exile, receiving a rock star’s reception. His arrival coincided with Pheu Thai and Srettha’s successful parliamentary vote to select the prime minister, fueling speculation of a deal with the conservative establishment—claims denied by both Thaksin and Pheu Thai.


The progressive Move Forward party, which holds 30% of seats in the lower house after winning last year’s election but was blocked by conservative lawmakers from forming a government, faces potential dissolution. The Constitutional Court is considering an Election Commission complaint that alleges Move Forward breached the constitution with its campaign to reform the country’s royal insult law. Move Forward, which denies any wrongdoing, ceased efforts to amend the law following a January verdict from the same court that ruled the party’s plan was a hidden effort to undermine the monarchy. The court is expected to announce the next hearing or verdict date on Tuesday.


The Constitutional Court will deliver a verdict on Tuesday regarding the ongoing selection of a new 200-member Senate, following a petition questioning the legality of parts of the selection process. If the process is canceled or delayed, it would temporarily extend the term of military-appointed lawmakers who have played a key role in government formation, including blocking Move Forward from forming a government last year. The current upper house was hand-picked by the military after a 2014 coup that ousted an elected Pheu Thai government led by Thaksin’s sister, who remains in self-imposed exile.

report credit Reuters

Translate »