News / Asia

Former Thai PM Faces 5-Year Politics Ban After Commission Ruling

Anti-government protesters carry signs against ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as they march in central Bangkok, May 8, 2014.
Anti-government protesters carry signs against ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as they march in central Bangkok, May 8, 2014.
Thailand’s former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been found guilty of negligence by an anti-corruption commission, which could lead to a five-year ban from politics. Yingluck was ousted from office Wednesday after another court found her and other top ministers guilty of abuse of power charges.

Thailand’s anti-corruption commission said Thursday it had found grounds for Yingluck Shinawatra’s impeachment, holding her responsible for a bungled rice-pledging program that paid farmers a fixed price for their crops.
 
Senate to vote on impeachment

Her case now goes to the Senate. If impeached, Yingluck would be barred from politics for five years. But political observers say she may have enough support in the Senate to prevent the chamber from mustering the three-fifths needed for impeachment.
 
  • Anti-government protesters react as their leader arrives at Thailand's parliament building during the senate session in Bangkok, May 12, 2014.
  • Newly elected Senate Speaker Surachai Liengboonlertchai (right) and anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban greet each other in parliament, Bangkok. May 12, 2014.
  • Emboldened by the removal of Thailand's prime minister, anti-government protesters withdrew from Bangkok's main park and marched to the vacated prime minister's office compound seen here, where protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has pledged to set up office, Bangkok, May 12, 2014.
  • Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, center, talks on his mobile phone during a rally outside the parliament building, in Bangkok, May 12, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester waves a national flag in front of riot police officers and soldiers guarding the entrance of the National Broadcast Services of Thailand (NBT) television station, in Bangkok, May 9, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters step on a poster of ousted Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra outside the National Broadcast Services of Thailand (NBT) television station, in Bangkok, May 9, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters watch as an injured man is taken away from a clash site at a police compound, in the north of Bangkok, May 9, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters are singing as they ride on a truck during a rally. A court ousted Thailand's prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra for abuse of power, handing the anti-government demonstrators a victory for their efforts the past six months, in Bangkok, May 8, 2014.
  • Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban greets supporters during a rally, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 8, 2014.
  • Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets her supporters as she leaves the Permanent Secretary of Defence office in Bangkok, May 7, 2014.
  • Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, 66, was quickly appointed the new acting leader after Prime Minsiter Yiungluck Shinawatra was ordered to step down by a May 7, 2014 court ruling, in Bangkok.

The anti-corruption commission unanimously found Yingluck guilty of dereliction of duty for failing, as head of the National Rice Policy Committee, to respond to corruption in the subsidy scheme. The commission is still investigating whether she should face criminal charges in the matter.
 
Thursday’s ruling echoes language used by the Constitutional Court Wednesday when it ordered her removed from office for the inappropriate transfer of the national security chief.  
 
For her supporters, the court’s and the commission’s rulings are evidence of what they term a “judicial coup” against Yingluck and her family’s political infrastructure, which has won every general election since 2001.
 
Many in Thailand worry the months-long struggle between pro- and anti-government factions could devolve into further violence if both sides cannot reach consensus.
 
Police Lt. Col. Kritsana Pattanacharoen, a spokesman for the Center for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), on Thursday noted fresh violence in Bangkok since Wednesday’s ouster of the prime minister.
 
“CAPO wishes to reaffirm that the court’s judgment will lead to violence as seen from a series of incidents including the firing of M-79 grenades targeting Chulabhorn Hospital, some commercial bank headquarters and also the residence of the Constitutional Court’s judge,” stated Kritsana.
 
CAPO also is warning leaders of pro- and anti-government movements against any violence during their dueling demonstrations in the capital in the days ahead.
 
In recent months, pro-government demonstrators known as “red shirts” have largely stayed away from the capital to avoid direct confrontations with anti-government groups concentrated in Bangkok. Analysts worry that the moves against Yingluck and members of her party could lead supporters to stage more aggressive demonstrations near the capital, leading to clashes with opponents.
 
Two shots were reportedly fired in the direction of anti-government demonstrators as they began a march from a central Bangkok park on Thursday. No one was injured.
 
The roots of the current political turmoil go back to 2006, when protests against billionaire businessman turned politician Thaksin Shinawatra led to a coup ousting him as prime minister. Yingluck, elected in 2011, is Thaksin’s younger sister.
 
Caretaker PM replaces Yingluck

Government opponents see the acting prime minister, selected Wednesday by his fellow Cabinet members, as another politician controlled by Thaksin. Niwattumrong Boongsongpaisan, the commerce minister in Yingluck’s cabinet, was a business executive in the Shinawatra empire before joining politics several years ago.
 
The United States government has avoided taking sides in the polarized political atmosphere in Thailand, a key regional ally with a long-standing military partnership.
 
A State Department spokesperson said “a resolution should include elections and an elected government” and the U.S. urged “all sides to exercise restraint and reaffirm that violence is not an acceptable means of resolving political differences."
 
The election commission has proposed polls for July 20 after February voting was scuttled by anti-government protestors. But the continuing political chaos has thrown in doubt whether elections can be held then.
 
Interim deputy prime minister Pongthep Thepkanjana, who is also the justice minister, said the caretaker government is working under the election commission’s framework.
 
Pongthep said a meeting between the government and the commission should be held next Monday because if arrangements are not in place by May 14 then it will be difficult to have the election on July 20 as anticipated.
 
But an election commissioner said it is unclear whether the interim cabinet, after the departure of Yingluck, has the authority to submit a petition for a royal decree needed to officially set the polling.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid