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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, May 25, 2018

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Thai junta deals double blow to ousted PM Yingluck

Military junta to root out the political circle founded by Yingluck

Share on Facebook January 23, 2015, Reporter : Deutsche Welle, Reader : 539

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BANGKOK, Thailand - Thailand's military-stacked parliament has voted to impeach ousted PM Yingluck Shinawatra over a failed rice subsidy scheme. The move, which bans her from politics for five years, may reignite divisions in the country, reports the DW.

Military-appointed Thai legislators Friday impeached ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and imposed a five-year ban from politics for on charges of criminal negligence that cost Thailand billions of dollars during her rule.

The move by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) was widely seen as an attempt by the military junta to root out the political circle founded by Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, another ousted prime minister.

The impeachment followed a government decision to proceed with criminal charges to indict the first female prime minister of Thailand on criminal charges for negligence related to losses and alleged corruption in the subsidized rice programme.

Thai authorities have dealt a double blow to ex-premier Yingluck Shinawatra. On Friday, January 23, military-appointed lawmakers in the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted to impeach the Thai leader for her role in overseeing a money-losing rice subsidy scheme, a decision which bans her from politics for five years.

Almost at the same time, the attorney general's office announced it would proceed with criminal charges against her for negligence and alleged corruption in the rice program. No date has been set for the formal indictment, but if she is found guilty by the Supreme Court, then she could be imprisoned for 10 years. As a convicted criminal, Yingluck would be unable to run for political office ever again.

She was removed from office for abuse of power in May days before the military coup.

Soon after her impeachment and attorney general's announcement regarding the legal action, Shinawatra said that democracy in her country was dead.

She wrote on her Facebook page that she still wanted to see reconciliation and democracy in Thailand strengthened "even though today Thai democracy has died, along with the rule of law".

"I will fight until the end to prove my innocence, no matter what the outcome will be. And most importantly, I want to stand alongside the Thai people. Together we must bring Thailand prosperity, bring back democracy and truly build justice in Thai society."

She said that the rice subsidy scheme was run by "groups of people".

"It was a resolution of the cabinet ... why am I singled out?" Yingluck asked.

"To bring the case against me alone, therefore, shows a hidden agenda under an unjust practice, and is a political agenda."

She cancelled a scheduled news conference after her lawyers said the military authorities had gagged her. They said that she was advised it could risk violating martial law.

However in parliament she denied she was responsible for any corruption and questioned the fairness of an investigation by the state anti-corruption commission.

A vote to impeach required a three-fifths majority among NLA members, who were hand-picked by the junta of coup leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. Around 100 of the 220 members are former or serving military officers.

Some 190 lawmaker voted against Yingluck.

 

 

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