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Thailand: Youth Oriented Party Leader Charged with Sedition

The leader of Future Forward party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has been charged on Saturday with sedition, the latest legal action facing the rising star after a disputed March election. The sedition charge filed by the junta was the second criminal case opened against him, since he formed the progressive, youth-oriented Future Forward party last year.

Thanathorn is charged with breaking article 116 of the Thai criminal code, the equivalent of sedition, and article 189, for supporting others who committed a serious crime. He could face up to nine years in prison if found guilty. According to the electoral law, a criminal conviction could spell electoral disqualification for Thanathorn, who has looked set to become a member of parliament.

Charismatic and wealthy, Thanathorn is the co-founder of Future Forward, which was formed in March after the electoral commission allowed new parties to register for the first time in five years, with a view to a possible election in 2019. The Future Forward party made a surprisingly strong showing in the 24 March election, coming in third with 6.2m votes. It was still uncertain which party could form a government after the election, the first since an army coup in 2014. Earlier in the week, he said the charges were politically motivated, adding: “The dark influence will not leave Future Forward Party alone.”

>Alma Siddiqua

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