The saga of the Shinawatra has turned Wednesday that festers further political crisis in Thailand for years. The Constitutional Court has ordered Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, to leave office for abuse of power.
Yingluck, who is the sister of former Thaksin Shinawatra, has been found guilty of abusing her position to be transferred in 2011 to the head of the National Security Council, Thawil Pliensri, to another job for a family member, Priewpan Damapong, to benefit from the subsequent movements. Yingluck has denied. Nine ministers who supported the change Thawil have also been removed from their posts.
The court stated that Yingluck transferred to Thawil to favor her powerful family and therefore violated the Constitution. “Consequently, the status of prime minister has ended (…) Yingluck can not continue in her position,” said the presiding judge of the Constitutional Charoon Intachan, in a televised speech, reports France Press.
The remaining members of the Executive have appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, new head of government. Thailand has had a caretaker government since Yingluck dissolved the lower house of parliament in December, in a failed attempt to end the protests against his cabinet. The elections held in February were annulled by the Constitutional having been interrupted in many constituencies. New elections are scheduled for July 20.
The case plunges further into Thailand prolonged political crisis since 2006, when a military coup deposed prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunications tycoon.
Yingluck, 46, faced six months ago the opposition protests, mainly composed of urban elites, seek to overthrow the Government. By not having succeeded in the streets, they have turned to the courts.
The Constitutional Court raises doubts about whether elections will be held in July. Most of these come from rural areas, and have called for a mass demonstration on Saturday in Bangkok. Yingluck ‘s dismissal raised tempers and could lead to new violence as registered since November, with more than 20 people dead and hundreds wounded in gun battles and attacks with guns and grenades.
Yingluck, the first woman to hold the leadership of government in Thailand, Pheu Thai and her party swept the 2011 elections, and are very popular among the poor, particularly in the north and northeast of the country population. But, as a member of the Shinawatra family, is despised by the middle and upper classes and the circle close to the monarchy. Critics say it is a tool in the hands of her brother, who they say, really ran Thailand. Thaksin lives abroad to avoid going to jail for a conviction of corruption.
The campaign against Yingluck was the last stage of a political revolt that began when Thaksin was ousted from government in 2006, after intense protests in which he was accused of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect to King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy.
Since then, supporters and opponents of Thaksin are locked in a power struggle. His followers claim that the upper classes are opposed to it because they have seen their privileged position threatened by his populist policies. Thai courts, like the Army, are perceived as bastions of conservatism anti Thaksin. In 2007, the then Constitutional Party dissolved Thai Rak Thai Thaksin fraud in the 2006 elections, and vetoed its leaders from political activity for five years. Thaksin, who made his fortune in telecommunications, was exiled in 2008 to escape a sentence of two years in prison for conflict of interest while he was prime minister (2001-2006). The Pheu Thai Party has accused the Constitutional partisanship and bias against Shinawatra.
Thaksin ‘s allies won easily in late 2007 elections, but the court in 2008 expelled two top ministers favorable to Thaksin. In 2010, a coalition of the opposition Democratic Party appealed to the army to end demonstrations of the Red Shirts in Bangkok that left more than 90 dead. Yingluck and Pheu Thai won a majority in the 2011 elections.