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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid