December 2, 2008 in Nation/World

Thai court dissolves ruling party

 

Thailand’s Constitutional Court today ordered the dissolution of the governing party and banned Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat from politics for five years, plunging the country deeper into political crisis.

Somchai’s People’s Power Party and two others in the governing coalition must be shut down because they were guilty of fraud in December elections, the court ruled. Somchai is expected to step down soon, but his party and its allies already have a list of 20 possible successors, according to local reports.

So any victory figures to be short-lived for the opposition People’s Alliance for Democracy, or PAD, which seized the country’s main airport a week ago.

Before the ruling, Somchai’s officials had set up a new party, called Puea Thai, for its members of Parliament and any allies who wished to join.

The judges, who refused to hear witnesses, had to hold their hearing in a different court after red-shirted government supporters blocked the Constitutional Court building to protest what they see as a rush to judgment.

The prime minister’s supporters had denounced the expected decision as “a judicial coup.”

Toronto

Opposition plans to oust government

Canada’s opposition parties signed an unprecedented agreement Monday to topple the Conservative government in a no-confidence vote next week and form a coalition government less than two months after national elections.

The Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois, which together control a majority in Parliament, plan to vote against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority government next Monday, which would remove it from power.

If Harper loses the confidence vote, Governor General Michaelle Jean would either call another election or ask the opposition to form a government.

If the opposition plan is successful, it would be the first time that a Canadian government was ousted and replaced by an opposition coalition without an intervening election.

From wire reports

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