May 7, 2014 6:34 pm JST

Thai court unseats Thai premier over power abuse

Reporters cover through television when judges read a verdict on abuse of power charges against Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Constitution Court in Bangkok on May 7. © AP

BANGKOK (Kyodo) -- Thailand's Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled that caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra must step down for violating the Constitution by interfering in state affairs for her personal benefit.

     The court ruled with a consensus that Yingluck interfered in the transfer of a government official for her own political benefit and the benefit of family members. Some Cabinet ministers involved with the transfer were also unseated.

     There was no immediate statement from Yingluck following the court ruling. But the ruling Pheu Thai Party released a statement criticizing the court's ruling and vowed to oppose the action they called a "conspiracy" by independent agencies and antigovernment groups.

     Some government supporters also went to the Defense Ministry's compound in northern Bangkok to show their support for Yingluck, who is said to have acknowledged the ruling and is preparing to hold a press conference.

     The Pheu Thai Party also called on the Election Commission to hold a general election as soon as possible.

     After her removal, the Cabinet later appointed Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan as acting premier.

     The case stems from her orders to remove Thawil Pliensri and Wichian Potphosri from their respective positions in charge of the National Security Council and the National Police soon after taking power in 2011.

     The two positions were later filled by Yingluck's cronies.

     The Supreme Administrative Court recently ruled that the transfer was unlawful and reinstated Thawil, who had filed a lawsuit.

     The petition submitted to the court suggested that the premier breached an article of the Constitution that prohibits lawmakers from interfering in government agencies or state enterprises for their own benefit.