Thai court orders PM Yingluck to step down over abuse of power
Thailand’s prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been ordered to step down after constitutional court found her guilty of abusing power.
The court has accused Yingluck of misuse of power when she transferred a senior civil servant to another position, shortly after taking office in 2011.
Appearing in court on Tuesday, Yingluck denied the charges. But the court ruled against her, stating a relative (her brother-in-law) had gained from the transfer.
In a statement on national television one of the judges said: “The prime minister’s status has come to an end. Yingluck can no longer stay in her position acting as caretaker prime minister.”
The ruling also ousted nine other cabinet members who the court said were in office at the time of the transfer.
Soon after the declaration, Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party released a statement, calling the decision “a conspiracy to remove the democratically elected government and a virtual coup”.
Commenting on the decision, advisor of the PM Noppaddon Pattama said: “Court’s decision was binding and leaves Yingluck with no choice but to be bound by the decision because the constitution says the judgement of the court is binding on all parties, although we are going to make a political protest.”
General elections are planned for 20th July. Until then, the remaining cabinet members would continue performing their duties and Thailand’s commerce minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan will replace Yingluck as the PM.
Yingluck thanked her supporters in a press conference on Tuesday. Denying the charges, she said: “We held true to the principles of honesty in running the country, and never acted corruptly, as we were accused.”
Thai media has reported that her supporters are expected to hold a rally on Saturday.
However, anti-government protestors have accused her of acting as a proxy of the former PM Thaksin, who was removed from government in 2006 and now lives in self-exile in Dubai.