Court bans Thai PM from office for 5 years

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{image-Somchai Wongsawat1_02122008.jpg}Bangkok, Dec 2: A court in Thailand has dissolved the ruling People Power Party and banned Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat from office for five years. "As the court decided to dissolve the People Power Party, therefore the leader of the party and party executives must be banned from politics for five years," The Telegraph quoted Chat Chonlaworn, head of the nine-judge court panel, as saying.

"The court had no other option," he added. Under Thailand's Constitution, written by a military government last year, any political party in which a single executive member is convicted of election fraud must be entirely dissolved and all party executives banned from politics. The verdict was widely anticipated, but it may not lead immediately to the fall of the government or to the end of the crippling opposition blockade of Bangkok's airports.

Government MPs are expected to reform in a new party.

Meanwhile anti-government protesters, who have stranded thousands of travellers for over a week, are determined to maintain their blockade until they are satisfied of total victory.

The situation in Thailand remains febrile, with widespread fears of much worse violence to come and speculation rife of extra- constitutional power grabs or "disguised coups".

The total death toll in Thailand's political crisis on both sides of the conflict currently stands at seven with hundreds wounded.


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