Thailand’s ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra has been impeached and banned from politics for five years following legislators vote.
The move relates to Yingluck Shinawatra involvement in a controversial rice subsidy scheme.
Earlier on Friday, the attorney general also announced that Yingluck Shinawatra would face a criminal charge over her role in the scheme.
A court removed Yingluck Shinawatra as prime minister in May 2014, days before the military ousted her government in a coup.
On Janaury 23, 190 out of 219 lawmakers present in the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted to impeach her. Eighteen voted against impeachment while the others abstained. One lawmaker was absent for the vote.
The votes were written on a whiteboard as they were tallied, and broadcast on national television.
Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, tycoon and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, remain hugely popular among Thailand’s rural poor, but are hated by an urban and middle-class elite who accuse them of corruption and abuse of power.
Their party is the most popular in Thailand and has – under various different names – won every election since 2001.
The allegations against Yingluck Shinawatra centre around a scheme in which her Pheu Thai-led government bought rice from Thai farmers at a much higher price than on the global market.
It resulted in the accumulation of huge stockpiles of rice and hit Thailand’s rice exports hard.
Anti-corruption investigators have accused Yingluck Shinawatra and her party of using the scheme to buy votes from farmers, particularly from their power base in the north, and allowing government associates to profit from it.
Yingluck Shinawatra has maintained that she was not involved in the scheme’s day-to-day operations, and has defended it as an attempt to support the rural poor. She has also said that she could not be impeached as she has not held a position in the government for months.
Her supporters say the claims against her are a ruse to remove her from politics.
Yingluck Shinawatra also faces up to ten years in prison if she is found guilty of negligence of duty, which the attorney general charged her with on Friday morning.
Surasak Threerattrakul, director-general of the Office of the Attorney General, said after considering all the witnesses and evidence from the National Anti-Corruption Committee “we agree that the case substantiates a criminal indictment charge against Yingluck”.
Abhisit Vejjajiva, the former Thai prime minister, has been charged with murder over the death of a taxi driver shot by soldiers during political violence.
Abhisit Vejjajiva was prime minister when thousands of protesters took to the streets in 2010 demanding his government step down.
He gave orders allowing troops to use live ammunition on protesters, who had shut down parts of Bangkok.
Abhisit Vejjajiva denies the charge, which supporters say is politically motivated.
More than 90 people, both civilians and soldiers, were killed in the protests, which went on for over two months.
Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy at the time, Suthep Thaugsuban, are the first officials to face charges in connection with the deaths.
The move was announced last week, after a court ruled in September that taxi driver Phan Kamkong had been killed by troops.
Abhisit Vejjajiva, the former Thai prime minister, has been charged with murder over the death of a taxi driver shot by soldiers during political violence
Now the leader of the opposition, Abhisit Vejjajiva has defended his order for live ammunition to be used, saying government forces had “very little option” but to act when live fire was used against them.
“We tried to negotiate with the protesters, and they wouldn’t accept any of the deals that we offered them,” he said.
“It was our duty to restore order, and that’s what we were trying to do.”
Abhisit Vejjajiva said he would fight to prove he was not guilty.
Elections held after the protests, in July 2011, were won by the party led by Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted prime minister whom many of the protesters backed.
Twenty-four protest leaders are also being prosecuted on terrorism charges.
Barack Obama is practicing a new brand of foreign relations, appearing to flirt with Thailand’s attractive Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on his first stop of his three-day tour of Southeast Asia.
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra could be seen laughing together and exchanging playful glances throughout a state dinner at the Government House in Bangkok on Sunday night.
They were joined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who toasted to the U.S.-Thailand friendship with Yingluck Shinawatra.
Barack Obama is now visiting Myanmar – also known as Burma – followed by Cambodia this week.
He said it is “no accident” that he planned his first foreign trip to Asia after winning re-election.
Barack Obama is practicing a new brand of foreign relations, appearing to flirt with Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra
Speaking at a news conference on Sunday in Bangkok, Barack Obama emphasized that the U.S. is a “Pacific nation”.
Barack Obama said the Asia-Pacific region will be crucial for creating jobs in the U.S. and shaping its security and prosperity.
Barack Obama’s praised Thailand for being a supporter of democracy in Myanmar, the once-pariah state that is rapidly reforming.
He said he appreciated the Thai prime minister’s insights into Myanmar during their meetings on Sunday.
Barack Obama’s visit made quite an impression on Thailand, and adoring crowds gathered around him and chanted “Obama, Obama” as he visited the Temple of Reclining Buddha just after arriving in Bangkok.
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