Thailand's Constitutional Court [GlobaLex backgrounder] on Thursday dismissed a second case against the ruling Democrat Party [party website] for alleged misuse of campaign funds. The court voted 4-3 to dismiss the case [Bangkok Post report] on procedural grounds, allowing the ruling part to escape dissolution. If the suit had been successful, the Democratic Party would have been dissolved and party leaders, including current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva [official website], would have been banned from participating in politics for five years. A separate suit was dismissed [JURIST report] last month, also on procedural grounds.
The Constitutional Court began hearing the first case [JURIST report], which centered around the misuse of an EC electoral grant where the EC alleged funds from the grant had been transferred to senior party officials in violation of the Political Party Act [LoC Backgrounder]. The EC called for the dissolution of the ruling party [JURIST report] in April for failing to report donations from the business community and alleged misuse of the funds. The commission's decision came amid some of the deadliest political clashes Thailand has experienced in nearly two decades, as Thai protesters, known as red shirts [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], called for new elections and Vejjajiva's resignation.