Axe poised to fall on Yingluck

Axe poised to fall on Yingluck

NLA majority tipped to impeach former PM

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is unlikely to survive the impeachment vote Friday as more than 150 members of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) are expected to vote against her, a source at the assembly said.   

The source said after hearing Ms Yingluck's closing statement Thursday that many NLA members had found Ms Yingluck was still unable to clear up accusations that she failed to stop the massive losses and damage under her government's rice-pledging scheme.

They also believe the case against her is backed up by strong evidence under the National Anti-Corruption Act and the law governing national administration regulations, the source said.

The source said the 150 NLA members, who are expected to vote to impeach her Friday, include the anti-Thaksin 40 Group of Senators, academics, and particularly military and police officers in the NLA. The motion requires the support of three-fifths of NLA members, or 132 votes of all 220 NLA members.

The source added that if the impeachment motion is successful, public confidence in anti-corruption efforts will be restored and the reform process and charter drafting efforts will proceed smoothly.

But if the impeachment bid fails, this will have adverse repercussions on "everyone involved", the source said, referring to the National Council for Peace and Order, the NLA, the government and the National Reform Council.

The NLA will vote first on Friday on Ms Yingluck's case, and then on the cases of former House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranon and ex-Senate speaker Nikhom Wairatpanich.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) had petitioned the NLA to impeach Ms Yingluck, accusing her of dereliction of duty for failing to stop corruption and losses in her government's rice-pledging scheme. She chaired the National Rice Policy Committee when she was premier.

Mr Nikhom and Mr Somsak face proceedings for their role in chairing a House-Senate debate in 2013 on a charter amendment bill to make the Senate a fully-elected chamber.

A highly-placed source at the Pheu Thai Party told the Bangkok Post that about 10 former party MPs recently met ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Ms Yingluck's elder brother, in Dubai.

During their meeting, Thaksin believed Ms Yingluck's chances of survival in the impeachment case were slim, the source said.

However, the source said Thaksin hoped that Ms Yingluck would survive the criminal case being pursued against her under Section 157 of the Criminal Code for alleged dereliction of duty in the rice scheme. The case is now with the joint panel of the NACC and the Office of the Attorney-General.

In her closing statement yesterday, Ms Yingluck again denied all the accusations brought against her by the NACC.

She told the NLA that the impeachment case should not have been brought against her because she now has no position left to be impeached from and the 2007 constitution that provided for proceedings had already been abrogated.

Ms Yingluck also said impeachment could lead to a five-year suspension of her political rights and that would unfairly limit her fundamental rights.

She said that the NACC accepted her political opponents as witnesses in its investigation while rejecting several key witnesses that she had proposed.

In his closing statement, NACC member Vicha Mahakhun told the NLA the rice scheme led to policy-based graft, because rice in the government's stockpiles had been sold largely to associates at low prices, and these people later made huge profits from selling it at high prices.

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra appeared before the National Legislative Assembly Thursday to deliver her closing statement to appeal against the impeachment case against her. The NLA votes Friday on whether to impeach her. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

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