Former Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra impeached over rice subsidy scheme

Ms Yingluck will also face charges for her role in the scheme

Heather Saul
Friday 23 January 2015 09:49 GMT
Yingluck Shinawatra, the deposed premier, meeting her supporters this month
Yingluck Shinawatra, the deposed premier, meeting her supporters this month (Getty Images)

Thailand's military-appointed legislators voted to impeach former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for her role in overseeing a controversial government rice subsidy programme that lost billions of dollars.

The vote means that she will be banned from politics from five years.

The attorney general also announced that charges would be brought against Ms Yingluck for her role in the rice subsidy scheme.

The charge against the country's first female premier, who was ousted from office in May days before the military coup, concern her role in a scheme that paid farmers above market prices for rice and cost Thailand billions of dollars.

A date has not been set for the formal indictment. However, if convicted by the Supreme Court, Ms Yingluck could face up to 10 years in jail.

A vote to impeach required a three-fifths majority among the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly members, who were hand-picked by the junta of coup leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

One hundred and ninety lawmakers out of 219 voted to impeach her.

Ms Yingluck disputed the charges in an appearance at the NLA on Thursday and said the scheme boosted the economy. She was not present at the NLA vote on Friday.

She responded with a comment on her Facebook protesting her innocence and claiming the charges were intended to silence her, writing: "Thai democracy is dead".

Additional reporting by Reuters and the Associated Press

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