05/08/2014, 00.00
THAILAND
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Bangkok, stock market and currency slump: power vacuum threatens to scuttle Thailand

The Constitutional Court dismiss the Prime Minister for abuse of power. Today, the anti-corruption commission could lead to the end of Yingluck’s political career. Powers to pass to a new cabinet , called to lead the country until the July vote.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Thai baht has dropped to a monthly low and stock market indices have plummeted. The market crash mirror the institutional and political chaos following yesterday's dismissal of the Prime Minister and nine other Ministers of the Thai Government.  The Constitutional Court found  Yingluck Shinawatra "exempt" from office for  having "abused" her political power "for personal purposed".  Yingluck is sister to former Prime Minister and Thai billionaire Thaksin who fled into exile to escape a two-year sentence for corruption.  The episode that has reopened the power vacuum in the country dates back to 2011, the beginning of her mandate: Yingluck and nine ministers dismissed the former head of national security Thawil Pliensri. An unconstitutional removal according to the supreme court, because "illegal and unethical" and "not made in the national interest" but for "the political benefit" of the Prime Minister, her government and the ruling Pheu Thai Party.

According to prosecutors , Thawil was an obstacle to the Shinawatra project to replace the head of security with a relative, General Priewpan Damapong, Thaksin's brother in law .

The judgment and the vacuum that has resulted - with a temporary transfer of power to a new interim Executive Cabinet, led apparently by Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan and with the task of leading the country to new elections in July - have crippled markets; the national currency has plummeted as has the stock exchange, with investors worried about short - medium term risks. Experts point out that "the political vacuum could be prolonged, which makes financial support impossible".

Meanwhile, today the Anti-Corruption Commission must decide whether to indict former Prime Minister Yingluck and return her to trial; an event that would result in the political demise of Thaksin's sibling and a ban on her running for public office. Her rice subsidies program is at the heart of the issue, having caused a hole of billions of dollars in the state budget .

Now, there is the danger of a resurgence of the political violence that have rocked Thailand over the past years, with the Red Shirts - close to Shinawatra - ready to take to the streets to defend a government elected by a partial vote, boycotted by the opposition. It is also in response to the protests promoted by the opposition - the Yellow Shirts, closer to the Democratic Party - who have been demanding "end of the Thaksin regime" (always winners at the polls since 2001) for months and asking for political reforms and new elections.

 

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