The second-largest opposition party in Thailand led by millionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit might face two separate trials in court that could lead to the party's dissolution.
The court on Wednesday accepted a petition from the Election Commission urging it to probe the pro-democracy Future Forward Party and gave 15 days time to the party to prepare documents to challenge the petition, a media report said.
However, some of the people have termed the Election Commission move as another clampdown on the opposition by the pro-military government, led by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the former general who came to power after a coup in 2014 and was reelected earlier this year.
The election authority claimed the party received money from an illegitimate source. Thanathorn, as party leader, lent more than 191.2 million baht (6.3 million dollars) to his own party that was formed in 2018.
Future Forward secured 80 of 500 Lower House seats in the general elections in March while Pheu Thai Party won 136 seats. About 18 per cent of overall votes went to the party. Pro-military Palang Pracharat Party won only 116 seats, but formed a ruling coalition with other mid-sized and small-sized parties.
The court said it would not hold an inquiry, rejecting such a request by the party, as it already saw sufficient evidence to rule on the case. The court said it would rule on this case on January 21, the report said.