Speed Reads

Foreign affairs

Thai court ousts Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

CC by: APEC 2013

On Wednesday, Thailand's Constitutional Court ordered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down immediately after finding that she violated the constitution by transferring a national security chief out of his job in 2011 to further the career of a relative. Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, who is also commerce minister, will take over until the country's July 20 elections.

Yingluck denied any wrongdoing but appeared to accept the ruling, which came after six months of sometimes bloody protests, saying in a nationally televised address, "I am sad that I will not be able to serve you after this." Her party, founded by brother Thaksin Shinawatra — an exiled former prime minister ousted by the military in 2006 and convicted of abuse of power in 2008 — called the ruling a "new form of coup d'état."

This is just the latest chapter in a decade of political turmoil in Thailand, mostly revolving around the Shinawatra-led Phue Thai party, which has won every election since 2001 on support from the poorer, rural areas of Thailand. The opposition consists mostly of Thailand's middle class and the royalist establishment.