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Thai judges mull possible election invalidation

Written by: Staff
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BANGKOK, Apr 27 (Reuters) Thailand's top judges met today to find a way to resolve a deep political crisis after King Bhumibol Adulyadej told them to decide how a new government could be formed following an inconclusive election.

Judges of the three top courts met separately ahead of a summit of their chiefs on Friday after the king, in a rare direct intervention in politics, declared the snap April 2 general election boycotted by the main opposition parties undemocratic.

The 233 Supreme Court judges spent three hours discussing whether the election could be annulled and whether they had the jurisdiction to tackle the constitutional mess, a spokesman said.

''This is a crucial isssue that we will bring to discuss at the tripartite meeting tomorrow,'' senior judge Wirat Chiwinitkul told reporters who asked what would happen if the general election were nullified. He gave no other details.

The judges of the Administrative and Constitutional Courts also met in hopes of agreeing on a way out of a crisis sparked by an election that left some seats in parliament vacant and the legislature unable to meet to elect a new prime minister.

The heads of the three courts were to meet on Friday to agree on a way to end months of turmoil triggered by foes of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who accused him of corruption and abuse of power. He denies the charges.

But Constitutional Court President Pan Chantarapan said the judicial summit might not produce an immediate solution.

''We might need to meet two or three times to come up with a resolution that will be guaranteed by law, won't be against the constitution and will produce the best solution for the country,'' Pan told reporters.

Thaksin's solution, to call an early election, backfired after the three major opposition parties boycotted it.

Now the revered monarch's intervention has brightened prospects for an end to the crisis.

Another hopeful sign was a decision by the three main opposition parties to drop their insistence on political reforms before they would contest elections.

The king, due to celebrate his 60th anniversary on the throne on June with gala festivities, said on Tuesday the election boycott had produced an undemocratic one-party parliament.

Yesterday, the three opposition parties said they would take part in a fresh general election if the judges nullified the inconclusive April 2 poll.

Thai Rak Thai said it would accept such a solution.

REUTERS CH VV1702

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