Thailand in political limbo as Yingluck Shinawatra sacked over abuse of power

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 21:14

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Bangkok: Hours after Thailand`s first female Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra was ordered to step down by a court for abuse of power, a new caretaker PM was appointed on Wednesday.

The Thai cabinet agreed to appoint former Deputy PM and Minister of Commerce Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan as the new caretaker prime minister, announced Phongthep Thepkanjana, a deputy prime minister.

In victory for her political opponents and the country`s urban and middle class citizens, Yingluck was proved guilty of using her status as Prime Minister to transfer a top official for her own and party`s benefit, ruled the Constitutional Court on Wednesday.

The move is further set to push Thailand deeper into political uncertainty that the nation has been facing since last year.
Calling the National Security Chief`s transfer in 2011 as a violation of the constitution, the court said in the ruling that transferring government officials must be done in accordance with moral principle and any transfer done with a “hidden agenda” is not acceptable.

The Constitutional Court ruled that Ms Yingluck violated Article 268 of the Constitution, and hence must end her term as the PM.

The court`s ruling which was televised, also ordered nine other cabinet ministers to step down as they were said to have been complicit in the illegal transfer.

Yingluck Shinawatra who has been facing anti-government protests since last six months, was charged with abusing her power in 2011 when she transferred National Security Chief Thawil Pliensr in 2011 to another position.

Denying the allegations against her by anti-government senators, Yingluck today appeared before the Constitutional Court and said, that Mr Thawil`s transfer was for the nation`s benefit and it didn`t violate any laws. 

"I deny the allegation... I didn`t violate any laws, I didn`t receive any benefit from the appointment," Ms Yingluck told the court on Tuesday. 

By ousting Yingluck government, the country`s legal system has done what the protesters have been trying to do since last November when the Cabinet tried to pass an Amnesty law that wouls have paved the way for her brother Thakisn Shinawatra`s return.

Protesters led by opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban accuse Yingluck government of being a puppet regime being run indirectly by her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in 2006 ina military coup after being accused of corruption.

The protesters, mainly urban and middle class people, had been protesting against her governance and wanted a new “people`s council” to be elected. 

Yingluck, Thailand`s first female prime minister, and her Pheu Thai party stormed to power in 2011 elections and remains popular with the rural people.

First Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 14:43

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