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Thailand election commission says ruling party broke laws in annulled April vote

[JURIST] Thailand's Election Commission (EC) [official website] has determined that the ruling Thai Rak Thai [political party website] political party broke two election laws [materials] by paying groups to run candidates in the annulled April parliamentary elections [JURIST report] in order to meet election requirements after the main opposition parties boycotted the vote, an Attorney General spokesperson told AFP Thursday. The EC ruled that Thai Rak Thai "acted against democratic rule," and that the party's financing of fringe opposition candidates is a threat to national security. The Attorney General's office will decide by Friday whether to bring the charges before Thailand's Constitutional Court [official website], which has the power to disband Thai Rak Thai and prevent its leaders from participating in politics for five years. Party leader and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [official website; BBC profile], who survived an impeachment attempt [JURIST report] before the elections, could therefore face expulsion from office. Thailand's Cabinet in May approved October 15 as the date for new parliamentary elections, after the three principal courts initially rejected October 22 [JURIST reports].

Thailand's Supreme Court in May rejected two nominees for empty EC seats [JURIST report] as part of their efforts to force the entire EC to resign. Thailand's three major courts have repeatedly called the EC's resignation [JURIST report], saying the public does not trust the commission because they usually favor the ruling Thai Rak Thai party. AFP has more.

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