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Thai Court Gives PM Time to Build Defense in Abuse of Power Case

FILE - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra attends her cabinet economic meeting at the office of the Permanent Secretary of Defense in Bangkok.
Thailand's Constitutional Court on Wednesday gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to defend herself against charges of abuse of power, delaying a verdict that could see her removed from office in coming weeks.

“The prime minister will be given until May 2 to present her defense and gather further evidence,” Somrit Chaiwong, a Constitutional Court spokesman, told Reuters.

The charges relate to the transfer of National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri in 2011, which opponents say was designed to benefit her Pheu Thai Party. If found guilty, Yingluck could be forced to step down; some legal experts say the whole government would have to go with her.

Yingluck, who heads a caretaker government with limited powers, has been undermined by six months of street protests plus various legal challenges against her, which have intensified since February.