BANGKOK - Thailand's Constitutional Court agreed Wednesday to consider a recommendation by an election body to dissolve the ruling party for alleged misuse of government money, a court official said.
The case, which centres on allegations of misuse of a grant from the Election Commission, comes during a tense standoff between the government and "Red Shirt" protesters that has left 26 people dead and almost 1,000 injured.
"At a meeting this morning the court accepted the case against the Democrats filed by the Election Commission," the official said, referring to the ruling Democrat party led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
He declined to give a timeframe for the case but said the Democrats would be asked to provide a written defence.
The Election Commission earlier this month called for Abhisit's party - the oldest in the country - to be abolished over two allegations of an illegal political donation in 2005 and misuse of a commission grant.
The Constitutional Court's decision on Wednesday refers to the second count.
The other case, which involves allegations of an illegal multi-million dollar donation to the Democrat Party during 2005 elections, is expected to be forwarded in May to the attorney general, who has 30 days to consider it.
The party has said it will challenge the commission's recommendation, which refers to a donation made when Abhisit was its deputy leader.
The Red Shirts, who have been holding mass rallies in Bangkok for weeks, accuse the government of being undemocratic because it came to power in 2008 after the Constitutional Court ousted allies of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.