Yingluck Shinawatra, who has been the target of several months of angry protest, has been forced out of office.
The 46-year-old politician was ordered to step down from her position as prime minister on Monday by the Constitutional Court.
The court ruled that Shinawatra was guilty of abusing her power when she transferred a senior civil servant to another position in 2011.
Said the court, “Transferring government officials must be done in accordance with moral principle.”
The act of transferring the individual was thought to benefit Shinawatra’s politically influential family, making it a violation of the Thai constitution.
Shinawatra was not the only political figure forced out by the court’s ruling. Nine other individuals were told to leave their Cabinet posts as well.
Nearly two dozen other Cabinet members were unaffected.
Thai premier Yingluck ousted after court rules she abused power http://t.co/k388CFUz1k pic.twitter.com/nNLvElZJHy
— Bloomberg News (@BloombergNews) May 7, 2014
Two hours after the ruling was made, the embattled politician appeared on Thai television.
“We held true to the principles of honesty in running the country,” said Shinawatra.
In addition to denying the charges against her, Shinawatra emphasized that she was elected to her position and thanked her supporters.
Breaking: Thai Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan will replace Yingluck Shinawatra as prime minister http://t.co/0hQf4La6TA
— WSJ Asia (@WSJAsia) May 7, 2014
While the ruling may satisfy anti-government protesters, it leaves the country in a strange place politically.
Many wonder if the July elections will take place as planned and who will fill in for the ousted prime minister. The February elections were disrupted by anti-government protesters and later invalidated by the courts.
Thai Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan has been appointed to act as caretaker prime minster for the time being.
Thailand's Constitutional Court says Yingluck Shinawatra must go. Its rulings have now toppled three Thaksin-backed prime ministers . . .
— Andrew RC Marshall (@Journotopia) May 7, 2014
Shinawatra is hated by the country’s wealthier citizens, who are at the heart of protests. At the same time she is adored by the poor rural citizens who make up the majority of Thailand.
Many onlookers feel that an election would only serve to keep the popular politician in power and prefer her to be forced out by the courts.
The Thai legal system has been noticeably more hostile to Shinawatra and her supporters versus her opponents. This has lead to accusations that the courts in Thailand are corrupt and biased.
Image via Wikimedia Commons