Yingluck Shinawatra No Longer Thailand’s PM, But Crisis Continues

  on May 08 2014 2:13 PM
  • Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is greeted by her supporters gathered outside the Permanent Secretary of Defence office in Bangkok May 7, 2014. A Thai court found Yingluck guilty of violating the constitution on Wednesday and said she had to
    Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is greeted by her supporters gathered outside the Permanent Secretary of Defence office in Bangkok May 7, 2014. A Thai court found Yingluck guilty of violating the constitution on Wednesday and said she had to step down, throwing the country into further political turmoil, although ministers not implicated in her case can remain in office. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
  • Anti-government protesters marching in the city centre celebrate shortly after a Thai court delivered its verdict on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in Bangkok May 7, 2014. The Thai court found Yingluck guilty on Wednesday of violating the constitutio
    Anti-government protesters marching in the city centre celebrate shortly after a Thai court delivered its verdict on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in Bangkok May 7, 2014. The Thai court found Yingluck guilty on Wednesday of violating the constitution and said she had to step down, although ministers not implicated in the case can remain in office. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
  • Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra smiles as she arrives to address reporters in Bangkok May 7, 2014. A Thai court found Yingluck guilty of violating the constitution on Wednesday and said she had to step down, throwing the country into further
    Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra smiles as she arrives to address reporters in Bangkok May 7, 2014. A Thai court found Yingluck guilty of violating the constitution on Wednesday and said she had to step down, throwing the country into further political turmoil, although ministers not implicated in her case can remain in office. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom
  • Reporters listen as the verdict is given at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok May 7, 2014. A Thai court found Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra guilty on Wednesday of violating the constitution and said she had to step down, although ministers not impl
    Reporters listen as the verdict is given at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok May 7, 2014. A Thai court found Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra guilty on Wednesday of violating the constitution and said she had to step down, although ministers not implicated in the case can remain in office. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
  • Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban (C) reacts among his supporters as news about a Thai court's verdict regarding Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is told to him in Bangkok May 7, 2014. The Thai court found Yingluck guilty on Wednesday of
    Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban (C) reacts among his supporters as news about a Thai court's verdict regarding Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is told to him in Bangkok May 7, 2014. The Thai court found Yingluck guilty on Wednesday of violating the constitution and said she had to step down, although ministers not implicated in the case can remain in office. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
1 of 5

Yingluck Shinawatra is no longer Thailand's Prime Minister after a court found her guilty of abusing power that led to a prolonged political crisis that has spurred a number of violent protests.

Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, Thailand's Commerce Minister, also a deputy prime minister, has been named replacement for Ms Yingluck. The caretaker government's primary task is to push ahead plans for a July 20 election.

"The court decision is next-to-worst-case for moving forward," Kevin Hewison, director of the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University in Perth, told Bloomberg. "The political arm-wrestle may well continue unless the Electoral Commission can quickly move to an election where all parties participate."

The Thai court found Ms Yingluck guilty of abuse of power in related to the 2011 transfer of a top security official. "The judges unanimously rule that Ms Yingluck abused her prime minister status and interfered in transferring (Thawil Pliensri) for her own benefit," the president of the nine-member court, Charoon Intachan, said in a televised ruling.

"Therefore her prime minister status has ended... Yingluck can no longer stay in her position acting as caretaker prime minister."

"Yingluck's real offence, though, was being a member of the Shinawatra political clan, the target of mass protests that have disrupted life in the Thai capital for the better part of six months. That Yingluck survived in office so long is testimony to the extreme hesitancy of Thailand's monarchical network -- an alliance of interests that includes the palace, the military, and the judiciary -- to move against her. After all, she still enjoys the support of the majority of voters," Reuters reported.

The court may have removed Ms Yingluck from the top post, it however didn't touch her government. Experts believed these people will be the ones to prolong the political deadlock.

"The caretaker government's responsibility now is to organise an election as soon as possible," Mr Niwatthamrong said. He only hoped that the political situation "will not heat up after" the court ruling.

Ms Yingluck's supporters, the mostly rural-based Red Shirts, are expected to protest her ouster, effectively raising prospects of fresh clashes in Bangkok.

"We were bracing ourselves for this verdict. Everything our enemies do is to cripple the democratic process," Jatuporn Prompan, the leader of pro-Shinawatra "red shirt" activists, said. "The court chose a middle way today."

Join the Discussion