Thailand’s constitutional court has ordered the country’s underfire ruling People Power Party to be disbanded after it was found guilty of vote fraud.
The three judges also also barred the party’s top leaders, including Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, from politics for five years.
It brings to a head a crisis that has exposed deep divisions within the country.
Somchai had been rejecting opposition demands to step down, denying their claims that he was merely a pawn of his brother-in-law, the former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.
Bangkok has been beset by pro and anti-government protests in recent months.
The capital’s two airports have been occupied in the latest demonstrations, leaving thousands of foreign tourists stranded.
A bomb attack at one airport — seemingly targeting anti-governmnent activists — killed one person overnight and injured around 20 others.