Legal Case on Yingluck: AFP says military trying to end Shinawatra Family influence in Thailand

Several local reports that Thailand’s Dictator appointed The National Legislative Assembly (NLA), which is dominated by soldiers, Neo fascist Royalist and Bangkok’s traditional elite, yesterday dismissed a request by ex-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s legal team to submit more documents to support her claim that she was not negligent in relation to corruption in the controversial rice-pledging scheme while in power.

Yingluck’s lawyers submitted an additional 72 documents in her defence. Initially, NLA chief Pornphet Wichitcholchai agreed to accept 28 documents, as they had already been annexed to files complied by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. However, the NLA voted 165 to 15 to dump all the new documents.

The National Legislative Assembly will hold its first hearing on whether to impeach Yingluck on January 9.

Bloomberg View, by the editors, reports (source): “Nor does the military’s road map for returning power to civilians inspire confidence. Early drafts suggest that the proposed political reforms will be designed not to heal Thailand’s divides, but to ensure that followers of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra cannot return to power through elections. Even assuming that army-chief-turned-Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha keeps his pledge to step down by the end of 2015 — which is far from a given — that’s hardly a recipe for long-term political stability.

Thailand cannot move forward by repressing the democratic aspirations of half its population. Doing so will undercut the legitimacy of the country’s courts and regulatory agencies, as well as the parliament, which will be dominated by appointed rather than elected legislators. They will exacerbate Thailand’s already appalling inequality (in which the richest 10 percent of Thais own as much as 75 percent of national wealth). Perhaps most damaging, this will remove the need for Thai opposition parties to develop a true political alternative to Thaksin’s electoral machine. Any reforms that do not address that fundamental problem are only skin-deep.”

The following is from AFP:

BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand’s military-stacked legislature pushed ahead Friday with plans to impeach ousted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in what analysts say is an attempt to neuter her family’s influence in politics for good.

The National Legislative Assembly voted Friday to bring an impeachment hearing in the New Year.

“The opening of impeachment set on January 9 at 10am and I think the whole process will take about 30 days,” assembly member Jetn Siratharanont told AFP.

Yingluck, Thailand’s first female premier and the sister of fellow ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, was removed from office in a controversial court ruling shortly before the army toppled the remnants of her elected government on May 22.

Despite being forced out of office, the military plan to impeach her over her administration’s loss-making rice subsidy programme which – while popular among her rural powerbase – was a driving force behind protests against her now toppled government.

Yingluck’s legal team had hoped to delay the hearing so they could gather more evidence but their request was denied.

Analysts say the impeachment proceedings are part of a wider campaign to make sure her family – who are loathed by the military and Bangkok-based royalist establishment – cannot enter office again.

“This is all part of the attempt by the junta to eliminate the Shinawatras from Thai politics,” Pavin Chachavalpongpun, an expert on Thailand and staunch junta critic at Japan’s Kyoto University, told AFP.

“The junta is trying to install infrastructure, through drafting a new constitution and also through a series of pending cases, to make sure that if there is ever another election someone like Yingluck — or someone closely associated with her — will not be able to stand,” he added.

A successful impeachment needs three fifths of the national legislature to vote in favour and could see Yingluck barred from politics for five years.

The junta, which had initially hinted at an October 2015 election, said this week that fresh polls were unlikely before 2016.

May’s coup was the latest chapter in Thailand’s long-drawn political conflict, which broadly pits a Bangkok-based middle class and royalist elite, backed by parts of the military and judiciary, against rural and working-class voters loyal to the Shinawatras.

A Shinawatra-led or aligned government has been brought to power in every poll since 2001.

NLA rejects extra documents from Yingluck’s legal team

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