Thai Court Dissolves Ruling Party, Boots PM

Court dissolves ruling parties in fraud case, triggers scramble to form new government
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2008 3:30 AM CST
Pro-government demonstrators leave the administrative court after a rally in Bangkok Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008.    (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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(Newser) – A Thai court has ordered the country's ruling coalition parties to be dissolved and Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawt and other leaders immediately banned from politics for five years after finding them guilty of electoral fraud, Reuters reports. Wongsawat has accepted the ruling but it's unclear whether his ouster will be enough to ease tensions in the capital. Anti-government protesters who have occupied Bangkok's two airports for a week erupted in cheers upon hearing the news.

Coalition members not ousted by the ruling have vowed to create a new party and form another government. Parliament must chose a new prime minister within 30 days. In the meantime, Deputy Prime Minister Chaowarat Chandeerakul will serve as interim head of the government. The court president said the ruling was meant to "to set a political standard and an example,” adding that “dishonest political parties undermine Thailand's democratic system.”