Thailand's top judges to meet to resolve country’s political crisis

Thailand's top judges will meet this week after the revered king urged them to resolve the country's political crisis, an official said Wednesday, prompting speculation they could nullify recent elections and call a new vote.

In his first public remarks on the situation, King Bhumibol Adulyadej said Tuesday evening that he would not intervene to appoint a new government, as the opposition has requested, but that the crisis has created "a mess" and the courts should find a solution.

Speaking to the country's senior judges on nationwide television, the king asked the Supreme Court, Administrative Court and other courts to step in.

The chief judges of Thailand's Supreme Court, Administrative Court and Constitutional Court planned to meet Friday to "consider all legal aspects" of carrying out the king's wishes, said Jaran Pakditanakul, secretary-general of the Supreme Court.

Following months of street protests against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, accused of corruption and power abuse, Thailand has held three elections this month, with no prospect of a new government being formed.

The king criticized the recent elections, in which the ruling party ran unopposed in many constituencies because of an opposition boycott, as undemocratic.

"Having an election with only one candidate running is impossible. This is not a democracy," the king said, telling the judges to resign if they couldn't find a solution. "If you don't help to make democracy move forward, it will be the country's downfall."

Political observers said the king's remarks paved the way for the election to be invalidated.

"The king's remarks are clear, that the Administration Court will have to rule to nullify the April 2, election," said Somkid Lertpaitoon, a professor of political science at Bangkok's Thammasat University. He said the court was likely to act by seizing on complaints filed by the opposition to have the vote nullified, reports the AP.

I.L.