Thai political battleground shifts again to courts in new challenge to government

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Thailand's government, plagued by street protests over a recent attempt to help out disgraced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, faces a fresh challenge Wednesday when a court rules on its attempt to amend the constitution.

Whether the Constitutional Court's action amounts to a minor skirmish or a major battle in the long-running war between supporters and opponents of Thaksin depends on the verdict and how the parties react to it.

A worst-case scenario could end up with a court ruling leading to the disbanding of the pro-Thaksin ruling party and the dissolution of parliament. More worrying is that such a ruling could anger Thaksin's supporters and embolden his opponents, setting the stage for the kind of violent conflict that has marred the country's politics in the not-too-distant past.