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Thai court dissolves ruling party
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Thailand's Constitution Court on Tuesday ruled the three ruling parties in the coalition government -- People Power Party (PPP), Chart Thai Party and Matchima Thipataya Party were guilty of electoral fraud charges and ordered them to be dissolved.

All the three party's executives were banned from electoral process for five years as punishment in line with the 2007 Constitution.

Thai government supporters hold a rally to protest against Thai Constitution Court's order to dissolve the three ruling parties, in front of the Bangkok Intermediate Administrative Court in Bangkok December 2, 2008. Thailand's Constitution Court on Tuesday ruled that the three ruling parties, People Power Party, Chart Thai Party and Matchima Thipataya Party, were guilty of electoral fraud charges and ordered dissolution of them.[Xinhua]

The verdict effectively removes Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat from his post as the government leader.

Somchai reacted calmly to the verdict by saying, "I did my best to administer the country."

The verdict was handed down while Somchai was chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting in Chiang Mai, which he made a temporary government seat since his return from an APEC summit in Peru last Wednesday, as a civil anti-government movement led by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) occupied the Government House, and then besieged the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in a showdown to topple his government, which the protesters said was a proxy of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Somchai and his Cabinet was originally scheduled to attend the military parade in central Bangkok in the afternoon, presided over by the King and the Queen, as a tradition to celebrate the King's birthday on December 5.

Chat Chonlaworn, who headed the nine judges of the court, told the public via a live television broadcast saying that the ruling was the only option the panel could have made in line with laws.

"No matter whether you are satisfied or not with the verdict, we ask you to accept it," he said, pleading the public to remain calm and respect the judicial process.

The Constitution Court began to read the verdict against the three parties on electoral fraud charges at around 12:20 p.m. ( 0520 GMT) Tuesday after hearing the closing statements from both the prosecutors and the defendants in the morning.

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