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Court to rule on Thai PM's party

With a deepening political crisis draining millions of dollars from the economy by the hour, government opponents hope a court can break a deadlock that politicians, police and the military have failed to resolve.

The Thai Constitutional Court is set to rule as early as today whether the three parties in Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat's coalition, including his own People Power Party, should be dissolved for voter fraud. A guilty verdict would force Somchai and dozens of party executives to step down.

"Things should get better if the court verdict turns out that way," said anti-government protest leader Suriyasai Katasila.

But a ruling against the government and its allies could provoke counter-protests from Somchai's supporters.

Pro-government leaders suggested at a rally Sunday that the court was conspiring with the opposition by moving up the date for a ruling and have threatened to drive the opposition from Bangkok's main airports, which they have seized control of, if police fail to do so.

If the parties are dissolved, lawmakers would need to hold a parliamentary session to pick a new prime minister, while anti-government protesters may look to install an appointed government.

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