Former Thai Premier Faces Impeachment, Criminal Charges

Former Thai Premier Faces  Impeachment, Criminal ChargesFormer Thai Premier Faces  Impeachment, Criminal Charges

Thailand’s military-appointed legislature on Friday voted to impeach former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra for her role in overseeing a government rice subsidy program that lost billions of dollars, a move that could further polarize a divided nation plagued by political turmoil for a decade.

The vote, which means Yingluck will be banned from politics for five years, came just after the attorney general’s office announced separate plans to indict her on criminal charges for negligence related to losses and alleged corruption in the rice program, AP reported.

No date has been set for the formal indictment, but if convicted, Yingluck could face 10 years in jail.

Yingluck’s supporters see the moves as part of an effort to deal a final blow to her political party after the military seized power in a coup in May, overthrowing a government elected by popular vote in 2011.

Impeachment required a three-fifths vote of the legislature’s 220 members, and on Friday 190 voted against Yingluck. Most members of the legislature are part of the military or political opponents of Yingluck and past governments allied with her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.

Yingluck said Friday that democracy in her country was dead after the twin actions of the legislature and the attorney general.