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Thailand anti-corruption agency rules lawmaker's actions illegal

Thailand's National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) [official website] ruled on Tuesday that the actions of 308 members of Parliament in trying to promote the passing of a bill were illegal. The bill in question would make Thailand's upper house of Parliament an all-elected body. The ruling [AP report] will result in further investigation of the member's actions and could reportedly result in their being banned from politics in the future. The Commission did not provide an explanation for its decision, but a prior Thai Constitutional Court ruling held that the lawmakers acted illegally by violating legislative procedures in a way that upset the nation's system of checks and balances of power. Some fear that this ruling will further destabilize Thai politics during the current power struggle between supporters and detractors of the government.

Thai politics have been in a contentious state since the ousting of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC backgrounder] by a military coup [JURIST backgrounder] in 2006. In December Thai officials rejected [JURIST report] calls to postpone the upcoming February elections but protesters have continued to advocate for a delay and have stepped up their demonstrations in response to this latest ruling by the NACC. In November Thailand's Constitutional Court declared [JURIST report] the proposal to amend the nation's constitution illegal and that many legislators had acted illegally in trying to force its passing. The NACC's ruling on the conduct of the legislators themselves is the latest culmination on the issue. Thai opposition groups have sought help [JURIST report] in trying to overthrow the current government and it is yet unclear what effect this ruling affecting 308 pro-government legislators will have on their success in doing so.

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