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Thai court dismisses PM for abuse of power

AFP

Thailand’s highest court ruled Wednesday to remove embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and part of her cabinet from office for abuse of power, a verdict that is likely to send her supporters into the street in a new wave of protests.

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In its ruling, the Constitutional Court said the leader had violated the country’s constitution by having a “hidden agenda” when she transferred a senior civil servant in 2011 to another position, a move seen as benefiting her powerful family.

“The Constitutional Court has ruled unanimously that (Yingluck) has used her status as the prime minister to intervene for her own and others’ benefits to (transfer) a government official,” the court said.

The ruling also forced out nine cabinet members who the court said were complicit in the transfer of National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri.

Later Wednesday, the cabinet announced that Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan will take over as prime minister.

Yingluck has denied any wrongdoing, and her supporters accuse the courts of toppling her through unfair use of the legal system after six months of anti-government protests failed to unseat her.

Seeking to ease the pressure, Yingluck in December dissolved the lower House and called elections for February 2. But her opponents on the street disrupted the polls, which in turn were invalidated by the courts. More than 20 people have died in the latest political violence.

Wednesday’s ruling marks the latest twist in Thailand’s long-running political crisis. Yingluck supporters have vowed to hold a major rally Saturday, which many fear could spark more violence.

The campaign against Yingluck has been the latest chapter in Thailand’s political upheaval that began when her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, was ousted by a 2006 military coup after protests accusing him of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for constitutional monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Since then, Thaksin’s supporters and opponents have engaged in a power struggle that has on occasion turned bloody.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)

 

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