Former Thailand Premier Yingluck Shinawatra impeached

Jan 24, 2015 17:59 IST

Former Thailand Premier Yingluck Shinawatra was impeached on 23 January 2015 by an army-backed parliament. The impeachment was followed by the ban of the Yingluck Shinawatra from politics for five years.

Yingluck is the first Prime Minister to be impeached by parliament in Thailand’s history. The impeachment was a result of an allegation for failing to stop corruption in rice-pledging scheme.

The motion for impeachment was started in National Legislative Assembly. 190 of the 219 members present for the secret ballot voted in favor of impeaching Yingluck Shinawatra. 18 members voted against the impeachment, 8 abstained, and 3 votes were spoilt.

Yingluck was accused of dereliction of duty in her government’s rice-pledging scheme, which Thailand’s national anti-graft agency said cost the country 500 billion baht in damages due to mismanagement and corruption.

Rice-pledging program

Under the rice-pledging program, the Thai government bought rice from farmers at above-market prices, but then struggled to sell the paddies on the international market, accumulating stockpiles and resulting in huge financial loses. It is a flagship program of Yingluck’s administration.

The impeachment is the latest in a series of legal punishments handed down to Yingluck and her government. In May 2014, she was ousted from her office by the Constitutional Court on an abuse of power charge for transferring the head of the national security agency in 2011.

Procedure of Impeachment

The Constitution allowed individual justices to be the subject of impeachment proceedings with the vote of one fourth of the members of the House or with 50000 approvals of petitioners. A vote of three fifths of the Senate is required for impeachment. Earlier drafts had required votes of only 10% of the combined House and Senate to call for a vote of impeachment, and votes of three fifths of the combined Parliament to dismiss a justice.

About Yingluck Shinawatra

Yingluck Shinawatra is a Thai businesswoman and politician. She is a member of the Pheu Thai Party, and the 28th Prime Minister of Thailand following the 2011 general election.

Yingluck was Thailand's first female Prime Minister at the time and its youngest Prime Minister in over 60 years.

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