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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BANGKOK2993 2007-05-30 11:21:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

THAI TRIBUNAL CLEARS DEMOCRAT PARTY; TRT RULING

Tags:   PGOV PHUM KDEM KJUS ASEC TH 
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1. (U) Thailand's Constitutional Tribunal has cleared the
Democrat Party (DP) of all alleged wrongdoing in connection
with the April 2006 elections (reftel). Due to the time
required to read the verdict, which includes a summary of the
positions of all sides in the case, the Tribunal's follow-on
ruling on allegations against Thai Rak Thai (TRT) is expected
to be issued during the late night hours of May 30. Embassy
observers reported peaceful proceedings at the Tribunal and
at the site of a planned demonstration against the
authorities.



2. (SBU) Although the DP -- Thailand's oldest and
second-largest party -- was the main focus of these
proceedings, the Tribunal ordered the dissolution of the
Progressive Democrat Party (a small, insignificant party),
finding that it had falsified its membership records. The
Tribunal affirmed the legality of the coup leaders' decree
that retroactively imposed a five-year ban on political
activity for the executive board members of a dissolved party
(reftel). During the reading of the verdict, we spoke with
TRT's lead lawyer. He expressed confidence that there was
insufficient evidence to find TRT guilty of improprieties, as
the case against TRT relied on the claims of a single
witness. However, he appeared visibly deflated when the
Tribunal upheld the legality of the coup leaders' decree.



3. (SBU) COMMENT: This ruling allows the DP to begin
preparing for the elections expected later this year, with
current Party Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the DP's
presumptive candidate for Prime Minister; the DP can
realistically hope to win a plurality, although the field of
contestants remains unclear. If the Tribunal dissolves TRT,
the fact that the Tribunal cleared the DP may make it easier
for TRT to claim it has been treated unjustly. Most security
concerns focused on the reaction of TRT -- not the DP -- to
an adverse ruling, so the authorities will maintain their
heightened state of alert.
BOYCE