The election was disrupted by anti-government protesters and any
decision by the Constitutional Court to scrap it would add to the
political chaos after 4-1/2 months of street rallies aimed at
ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Government supporters accuse the courts of bias and say many judges
are aligned with the conservative establishment, prompting several
to deny they are politicized.
Justice Minister Pongthep Thepkanjana said he failed to see how the
election could be unconstitutional.
"The petition is not clear on how the election violates the
constitution ... This (case) might not even fall under the
jurisdiction of the court," he told reporters at the court.
The court will hand down its ruling on Friday.
The petition was brought by Kittipong Kamolthamwong, a law professor
at Bangkok's Thammasat University, and forwarded by the state
ombudsman's office. The Constitutional Court rejected a similar
petition from the Democrat Party last month.
Yingluck heads a caretaker administration with limited powers and
scrapping the vote would further delay the formation of a new
In a strongly worded statement on Tuesday, her Puea Thai Party said
such a verdict would have disastrous implications.
"If the Constitutional Court rules the election void, this would be
a dangerous precedent for Thailand ... because if a party knows it
is going to lose, it will move to block elections," it said.
Voting still has to be completed in the 18 percent of constituencies
where it was disrupted before parliament can open. Some re-runs were
held this month and the Election Commission has said others would be
held on April 5 and 27.
The protesters, mainly from Bangkok and the south, have been trying
since November to oust Yingluck and rid the country of the influence
of her brother, populist former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was
toppled by the army in 2006.
Following that coup, courts dissolved
two parties linked to Thaksin and banned around 200 of his political
allies from office for five years. In 2008 court rulings forced out
two pro-Thaksin prime ministers.
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Aware that parties allied to Thaksin are likely to win any election
under present arrangements, the protesters want political reforms
pushed through before any vote.
Twenty-three people have died in political violence since late
November. Heightening the risk of further strife, the pro-Thaksin
"red shirt" movement got a new, more militant leader at the weekend
and he promised to lead supporters into the streets to save Yingluck
if the courts ousted her.
Gunmen attacked the Bangkok home of the new leader, Jatuporn
Prompan, and that of a fellow red shirt leader, Nisit Sintuprai, on
Wednesday. No one was hurt in the attacks, said Thanawut Wichaidit,
a spokesman for the movement.
Among the charges Yingluck faces is one of dereliction of duty
brought by the National Anti-Corruption Commission over a ruinous
rice subsidy scheme. She has been given until March 29 to defend
Some analysts say she faces an uphill task in a legal system stacked
with anti-Thaksin appointees.
"The judiciary is strongly anti-Thaksin ... Judges were chosen after
the coup (in 2006) based upon proven anti-Thaksin credentials," said
Paul Chambers, director of research at the Institute of South East
Asian Affairs in Chiang Mai.
"The Constitutional Court has almost never ruled in favour of
pro-Thaksin political parties."
(Additional reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat;
editing by Alan Raybould and Clarence Fernandez)
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