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Thai Constitutional Court dissolves opposition party critical of military rule

Thai Constitutional Court dissolves opposition party critical of military rule

Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Friday dissolved an upstart opposition political party that has challenged the military establishment, finding it guilty of taking an illegal loan from its billionaire founder.

The dissolution of the Future Forward Party comes less than a year after Thailand held a general election to end five years of military rule. The ruling also strengthens the position in parliament of a coalition led by PM Prayuth Chan-ocha, the former junta leader who seized power in a 2014 coup, Reuters said.

Future Forward, led by charismatic auto-parts fortune heir Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, 41, has been sharply critical of military dominance of politics. It surprised many by coming third in the elections last year, winning the support of many young people and 81 of the 500 seats contested in parliament.

The court said that the party broke the law by taking a 191.2 million baht ($6.08 million) loan from Thanathorn. The ruling also bans Thanathorn and 15 other party executives from politics for 10 years.