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Thai court ruling may oust embattled prime minister

BANGKOK — A Thai court will issue a ruling today that could remove Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office, raising the possibility that the legal system could accomplish what protesters have been trying to do for six months through street demonstrations.

Yingluck defended herself Tuesday against abuse of power allegations in a key case that is one of several legal challenges that could force her from her job. She is accused of abusing her authority by transferring her National Security Council chief in 2011 to another position.

A group of antigovernment senators, who lodged the case, say the transfer was to benefit Yingluck's ruling party and violated the constitution.

"I would like to deny all allegations I am accused of," Yingluck said calmly, seated beside her legal team. "As the prime minister, I am entitled to carry out responsibilities I have toward the people … and for the utmost benefit of the general public."

Judge Charoon Intachan said after her testimony that the court would rule today. Members of her Cabinet could also be found liable.

Yingluck's testimony at the Constitutional Court marked the latest twist in Thailand's ongoing political crisis. Supporters accuse the courts of trying to topple Yingluck through unfair use of the legal system after six months of antigovernment protests failed to unseat her.

Thailand has been gripped by political conflict since 2006, when then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's billionaire brother, was ousted in a military coup after being accused of corruption and abuse of power. Yingluck took office in 2011. Opponents say she is a proxy for her brother, who is living overseas.

Thai Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday. Yingluck defended herself Tuesday against abuse of power allegations in a crucial court case that is one of several legal challenges which could remove her from office. She is accused of abusing her authority by transferring her National Security Council chief in 2011 to another position.

Associated Press

Thai Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday. Yingluck defended herself Tuesday against abuse of power allegations in a crucial court case that is one of several legal challenges which could remove her from office. She is accused of abusing her authority by transferring her National Security Council chief in 2011 to another position.

Thai court ruling may oust embattled prime minister 05/06/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 12:03am]
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