Yingluck Court Ruling Deepens Political Divide
BMI View: The decision by the Thai constitutional court to oust Yingluck Shinawatra on charges of abuse of power resulting from her appointment of her national security chief risks fanning the flames of the ongoing political crisis. We reiterate our view that large-scale violence is looking increasingly likely as the level of rancour between the two opposing forces in Thai politics continues to grow.
While the constitutional court's unanimous decision to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra may have been a legitimate attempt by the court to uphold the constitution, it is still likely to solidify the feeling of distrust on behalf of the Red Shirts (followers of Yingluck and her exiled brother Thaksin) that the establishment is heavily biased against them. Indeed, the former national security chief who lost his post, Thawil Pliensri, was appointed by a previous government that was deeply hostile to Yingluck's party. Still, charges of nepotism appear somewhat harsh given that the person she replaced him with, Paradorn Pattanatabut, was not himself a relation, but his promotion allowed a distant relative to receive a promotion. The Red shirts firmly believe that this is yet another coup to bring about the end of a democratically elected government, and this lack of faith in government institutions risks breeding violence.
The ruling will also do little to support the cause of pro-establishment forces, including the anti-government street protestors known as the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), led by former opposition MP Suthep Thaugsuban, as well as the largest opposition party, the Democrats. Indeed, while Yingluck has been forced to step down, as have a large number of her cabinet members, the party has not been disbanded. Commerce Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan has taken over the premiership, and has stressed that elections scheduled for July 20th will still go ahead. The PDRC appears no closer to implementing its plan of putting in place an unelected People's Council, made up of 'good people' chosen by the elite institutions.