The Constitutional Court of Thailand has said it will rule on 7 May whether to remove caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office for abuse of power.
Yingluck appeared at the court on Tuesday to deny the allegation, filed by a group of senators who asked for a judgement on her status after the administrative court ruled she replaced National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri, moving him to an inactive post, two years ago to benefit her family connections and the Pheu Thai Thai Party.
Court president Charoon Intachan said the nine-member bench had heard enough evidence and was ready to rule. “The hearing is over… the court has decided to rule on 7 May at noon,” he said.
The court could also extend its judgement to cabinet members who endorsed the decision to remove Thawil, potentially dislodging a layer of ruling party decision-makers with ties to fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
“I didn’t violate any laws, I didn’t receive any benefit from the appointment,” a composed Ms Yingluck told the court earlier on Tuesday. “I am quite surprised that the judges will spend only one day deliberating (on) the case,” said Phongthep Thepkajana, a deputy prime minister and legal adviser to the Pheu Thai Party leader.
Yingluck has also been charged by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) with neglect of duty in connection with a costly rice subsidy scheme that critics say fomented rampant corruption. If indicted on those charges, Yingluck would be suspended from office and face an impeachment vote in the Senate that could lead to a five-year ban from politics. [Bangkok Post]