Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Thursday suspended the leader of the progressive anti-junta Future Forward Party’s status as an elected member of parliament while determining whether to disqualify him.

The suspension came as the court decided to accept the Election Commission’s petition seeking the disqualification of rising political star Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, 40.

The former auto-parts tycoon was accused of violating the election law over his holding of shares in a media company, among many other cases against him and his party.

He has been charged with sedition for allegedly aiding anti-junta protesters in 2015, and computer crime for criticising the regime on Facebook in 2018.

Thanathorn said the charges are politically motivated, and that the election was neither free nor fair.

Since coming to power in a 2014 coup, the military has charged many dissidents with sedition and computer crime under harsh laws and has put many civilians in military detention.

The regime postponed the election date at least five times before settling for March 24.

It has been widely speculated that the election will only lead to semi-democratic rule thanks to the rubber-stamp Senate, which is expected to vote for junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha to remain in power as prime minister.

The Future Forward Party has formed an alliance with six other parties, making up 244 MPs, just under half of the lower house, which will convene for the first time on Saturday.

The parliamentary vote for the prime minister is expected next week.

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