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, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs