Thai prime minister ousted, found guilty of abuse of power

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Thailand\’s prime minister was forced to resign Wednesday after the Constitutional Court found her guilty in an abuse of power case, pushing the country deeper into political turmoil.
The court on Wednesday ruled that Shinawatra had abused her authority by transferring a senior civil servant in 2011 to another position. It said the transfer was carried out with a "hidden agenda" to benefit her politically powerful family.
The court also ruled that nine members of her cabinet were complicit in the abuse.
Yingluck\’s supporters accuse the courts of toppling her through unfair use of the legal system, after six months of anti-government protests failed to unseat her.
The ruling marks the latest twist in Thailand\’s long-running political crisis. Yingluck supporters have vowed to hold a major rally on Saturday, which many fear could spark violence.
It is not clear whether a deputy prime minister or other official would replace Ms. Yingluck as the acting head of Thailand\’s caretaker government or whether the verdict would create a power vacuum. 
Prime ministers are usually chosen by the country\’s lower house of parliament, but that body was dissolved by Yingluck last year when she called for early elections in an attempt to resolve the crisis.
Yingluck, who was Thailand\’s first female prime minister, defended herself before the court on Tuesday. She has not commented on the ruling. 
The prime minister\’s supporters say the charges are politically motivated. They had threatened to protest if she were removed, raising fears of violence. About two dozen people have already been killed in six months of anti-government protests.
After the protesters failed to achieve their goal of ousting Yingluck, they instead turned to the Constitutional Court, which has a history of ruling against Shinawatra-linked governments.
The opposition protesters say Yingluck\’s government is hopelessly corrupt and controlled by her brother, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thaksin was removed from office in a 2006 military coup. The billionaire businessman is still very influential in Thailand. He is living in exile to escape corruption charges.
The conflict pits Bangkok\’s urban middle class and royalist elite against the mostly poor, rural supporters of Yingluck and Thaksin.
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Source: Agencies

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