Thaksin hasn't commented publicly on the dossier, but Thai Rak Thai spokesman Sita Divari has denied the charges of bribery and hacking, insisting that the legal process will clear the party's name. The stakes are high: if the Constitutional Court decides against it, Thai Rak Thai could be dissolved and its executives, including Thaksin, barred from public office for five years. It would be an ignominious end for the party and would trigger mass defections by members anxious not to be left out in the cold before the next election, scheduled for October. Some are already bailing out: Wissanu Krea-ngam, one of six Deputy Prime Ministers, resigned last week, saying he wants to return to academia. "It's a sinking ship, but slowly," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.
Although Thai Rak Thai has dismissed the allegations ever since they first surfaced in April, it's taking the legal procedure seriously and clearly has no intention of going down without a ferocious fight. There's even talk of a scenario in which Thai Rak Thai would strike back by demanding the dissolution of the rival Democrat Party as well, on the grounds that its boycott of April's vote and its unsuccessful appeal for a royally appointed government undermined the election. "We could both be facing the same fate," warned Pimol Srivikorn, a Thai Rak Thai spokesman. And Thailand could be stumbling into an ever deeper quagmire.