Thailand’s Election Commission moves to dissolve the country’s largest political party, Move Forward, over lèse-majesté law advocacy. The party vows to fight back as it faces the court’s verdict. However, it is likely to suffer its demise as the Future Forward Party did in 2020.

Thailand’s powerful Election Commission is to seek the dissolution of the country’s largest political party in court. A petition will be lodged with the Constitutional Court which is quite likely to see the Move Forward Party dissolved. The move follows a landmark decision by the same court in January. It held that efforts by the party in parliament and in the political arena to amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code relating to lèse-majesté constituted an effort to overthrow the state. The lèse-majesté provision is deemed essential in the kingdom for the preservation of the country’s revered monarchy.

Mr Itthiporn Boonprakong, the Chairman of the Election Commission, was speaking on Tuesday and Wednesday after this week’s decision to seek the dissolution of the Move Forward Party before the Constitutional Court. In January, a ruling by the same court against the party, Thailand’s largest, and its former leader, Pita Limjaroenrat (inset left), effectively sealed its fate except for the legal confirmation process.

The Head of the Election Commission insisted on Wednesday that his agency was obliged by law to seek the dissolution of the Move Forward Party.

‘What directs the EC is the law. We function in compliance with the law. Otherwise, we could be held derelict in doing our duty,’ Mr Itthiporn Boonprakong told reporters.

On Tuesday, the Move Forward Party let it be known that it is preparing for the possibility of being dissolved. At the same time, it said it would vigorously defend itself before expected proceedings at the Constitutional Court.

Move Forward Party to defend itself before the Constitutional Court but the outcome is quite likely to be its dissolution as with the Future Forward Party

Party spokesman Parit Wacharasindhu was speaking on Tuesday.

At length, it came just hours after the Election Commission unanimously decided to seek its dissolution before the Constitutional Court. Move Forward is the country’s largest political party.

In brief, the decision is not unexpected.


It stems from January’s Constitutional Court decision that the party’s efforts to amend Section 112 were a threat to the monarchy. Indeed, the court found it was an attempt to overthrow the constitution and state itself.

Under the terms of the 2017 charter, the Election Commission is therefore tasked with taking the course it decided on. Before the decision, the body had consulted with the registrar of political parties and reviewed the court’s January 31st verdict in detail.

Nevertheless, this is a critical development in Thai politics. In February 2020, its predecessor the Future Forward Party was also dissolved.

This also resulted from an Election Commission resolution and application to the court under the 2017 law on political parties.

Decision requesting the dissolution of Move Forward because of the party’s campaign to amend the lèse-majesté provision in the Criminal Code, Article 112

In effect, the Election Commission (EC) formally resolved to petition the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Move Forward Party. The decision, announced on Tuesday, puts into relief the deepening legal and political tensions surrounding the party.

In particular, its stance on amending Article 112 of the Criminal Code, commonly known as the lèse-majesté law.

According to Mr Itthiporn Boonprakong, Chairman of the Election Commission, the unanimous resolution was reached during an EC meeting. The matter is now slated for consideration by the Constitutional Court, as stipulated by Section 92 and Section 93 of the Organic Act on Political Parties.

The move follows the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court on January 31, 2024. This came following a case brought forth by Mr Teerayut Suwankasorn, an activist lawyer.

The court deliberated on whether the actions of Mr Pita Limjaroenrat, former leader of the Move Forward Party, and the party itself, constituted an attempt to overthrow the democratic regime of government with the monarchy as Head of State. 

Attempt by Move Forward in March 2021 to introduce legislation seeking to amend Article 112 and political campaigning for this, warranted its dissolution

Afterwards, it ruled unanimously that Move Forward’s campaign to amend the law related to the monarchy constituted such an attempt.

In addition, the court, in January, emphasised the promotion of a party policy to amend Article 112. Certainly, this was pushed by the party in the 2023 General Election campaign as part of its manifesto.

Mr Pita, a member of the House of Representatives, on March 24 2021, submitted a legislative bill in parliament. This called for, among other things, a stricter process for triggering prosecutions under the law.

At one point, figures from within the current ruling party, Pheu Thai, also called for a similar move. However, following a number of later Constitutional Court rulings emphasising the preservation of the monarchy, the party changed course. 

It confirmed this before the 2023 General Election. Subsequently, it opposed any move to alter Article 112. 

Careful and considered position following the January 31st Constitutional Court decision which has effectively sealed the fate of the Move Forward Party

In light of that ruling in January, the Election Commission conducted a thorough analysis.

At this time, it concluded that there was credible evidence to support the dissolution of Move Forward.

Its members judged the Move Forward Party’s involvement in actions hostile to the democratic regime of government in Thailand.

Consequently, the EC formally decided to initiate proceedings for the party’s dissolution. In turn, the decision was in accordance with the provisions of the Organic Act on Political Parties 2017.

‘The Election Commission has considered the study results and analysed the Constitutional Court decision. It was unanimously decided to submit a petition to the Constitutional Court to order the dissolution of the Move Forward Party,’ stated Mr Itthiporn.

The Move Forward Party’s campaign to amend Article 112 has been a contentious issue. Certainly, the party argues that the law is being misused for political purposes. Indeed, its position was that the law in itself was a danger to the monarchy.

However, the Constitutional Court’s ruling emphasised the potential threat posed by such amendments to the constitutional monarchy and national security. In Thailand, the monarchy is seen as the cornerstone of stability. In effect, the foundation of the state.

The court highlighted various actions taken by Mr Pita Limjaroenrat and the Move Forward Party. Significantly, this included the submission of the proposed law to amend Article 112 in 2021. In addition, the party’s election campaigning on the issue in 2023.

Therefore, it held that Move Forward’s actions were an attempt to undermine the monarchy’s elevated status as above politics.

Clear and convincing winner of the 2023 election

Subsequently, Move Forward romped home as the clear winner of the 2023 general election.

However, its inability to form a coalition government positioned it as the main opposition party. Now, faced with the prospect of dissolution, the party vows to defend itself in court.

In response to the Election Commission’s decision, Move Forward Party spokesman Parit Wacharasindhu stated that the party is prepared to contest the case.

He also revealed it had made necessary preparations to address any eventualities arising from the legal proceedings.

The Move Forward Party won the May 14, 2023, general election, with 14.4 million votes. This was 37.99% of the electorate. The current ruling Pheu Thai Party, aligned with Move Forward at that time, secured 28.84% of the vote. 

Since then, the Move Forward Party has been polling higher than its election result.

In December 2023, a National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) opinion poll showed it with 44.05% of potential voters. Pheu Thai retained 24.05% support.

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Further reading:

Move Forward faces dissolution after Constitutional Court rules it tried to subvert the monarchy

Pita lives to fight another day. Next week, the court decides the future of the Move Forward Party

Public has not forgotten the backroom deals in August. Move Forward Party is even more popular

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‘Madame Dear’ throws her hat in the ring for the Democrat Party leadership with the party at war

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