The long running protests in Thailand may finally begin to wind down. The target of months of unrest, Prime Minister Yingluck, has been ordered to step down by Thailand’s Constitutional Court. With little political capital and support left, Prime Minister Yingluck appears to have no choice but to abide by the court’s decision.
Interestingly, the move was not over abuses towards protesters or for trying to pardon her brother, disgraced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for past crimes. Instead, Yingluck’s downfall was for abuse of power for demoting a top security advisor. The court ruled that Yingluck improperly demoted her then chief of national security, Tawin Pleansri, back in 2011.
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Former Prime Minister Yingluck has already accepted the court’s ruling. In a farewell speech, she promised to remember her time in office and to continue to fight for democracy.
Case centered around yet another brother
If nothing else, it appears that Yingluck is a model sister, at least when it comes to looking out for the interests of her brothers. Apparently, Yingluck demoted Pleansri so she could promote her brother-in-law to the post of national police chief.
The high court ruled that this was an abuse of power and that Yingluck used her office to benefit people close to her. Given that the opposition was pressing the exact same accusation, albeit over a different brother, this appears to be a fitting end to the Prime Minister’s time in office.
Given how old the case is, it’s possible that political motivations played a big role. Yingluck has been an embattled leader for the past year and her removal may allow for Thailand to move forward with reconciliation.
Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan appointed as Thailand’s care taker
Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan will now take over as caretaker and Prime Minister. It appears, however, that the government will push ahead to hold elections in the near future. Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan was the Commerce Minister.
Some 19 other cabinet members and senior officials were also removed by the high court over the same case, so Mr. Boonsongpaisan will come in with a relatively clean slate. Given the months of turmoil Thailand has suffered as the opposition movement has been trying force Yingluck out of office, this clean start is much needed.
While Thailand’s government is in a weak state, Yingluck’s removal should ease tensions and allow the government to get back on its feet. Elections will likely be delayed after being “penciled in” for the coming July. Regardless, the opposition got what it wanted most.