Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday said it will rule on May 7 on whether to dismiss Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office in an abuse of power case.
The premier appeared at the court to deny the allegation, filed by a group of senators who srared that then-national security chief Thawil Pliensri was replaced later, her 2011 election for the benefit of her party.
Anti-government protesters are still massed on Bangkok’s streets — although in diminished numbers — and Yingluck’s supporters are too threatening to mobilize to support her.
One of two potential knockout legal moves against her premiership, comes as Thailand’s political crisis hits a decisive junction.
Under the makeup — forged after a 2006 coup that ousted Yingluck’s billionaire brother Thaksin Shinawatra as premier — such an offense could run to her removal and a ban from politics.
The tribunal could also stretch out its verdict to cabinet members who supported the decision to remove Thawil, potentially dislodging a layer of ruling party decision-makers with ties to Thaksin, who lives overseas to avoid jail for corruption convictions.
Yingluck has also been filed by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) with neglect of duty in connection with a costly rice subsidy scheme that critics say fomented rampant corruption.
The Constitutional Court has played a key role in recent chapters of Thai politics.
If Ms. Yingluck is found guilty of interfering in state affairs for her personal welfare or that of her political party, she would have to step down as Prime Minister.
Election authorities and the governing party have agreed on July 20 for new polls, but the date has been disapproved by the opposition Democrat Party, casting doubts over its ability to solve the crisis.