Thai anti-graft panel to charge 308 MPsAgence France-presse . Bangkok
Thailand’s anti-graft panel said Tuesday it would press charges against hundreds of politicians, mostly from the party of embattled prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, over a failed attempt to amend the constitution.
The ruling adds to the political uncertainty in the kingdom, where the main opposition party is boycotting February elections called by Yingluck in an unsuccessful attempt to end weeks of mass anti-government protests.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission – whose mandate includes investigating possible abuse of power — cleared 73 politicians including Yingluck of wrongdoing in connection with a bid to make the senate, the legislature’s upper house, fully elected.
But 308 others from the upper and lower houses were found to have violated the law, based on a preliminary investigation, by drafting or proposing changes to the charter, panel spokesman Vicha Mahakun told reporters.
If officially found guilty their cases will be sent to the upper house of parliament, which has the power to ban them from politics for five years.
Yingluck’s supporters see the case as one of a number of political manoeuvres aimed at removing her Puea Thai party from power.
Protesters seeking to curb the political dominance of the premier’s billionaire family have vowed to block the February 2 election. They have the support of many in the kingdom’s elite.
The demonstrators want an unelected ‘people’s council’ to run the country to oversee vague reforms, such as an end to alleged ‘vote buying’ through populist policies, before new elections are held.
They are threatening to ‘shut down’ Bangkok from January 13.
Thailand has been periodically convulsed by political bloodshed since Yingluck’s older brother Thaksin Shinawatra was overthrown by royalist generals in a coup in 2006.
Eight people have been killed and about 400 wounded in recent street violence.
Legal rulings have played an important role in politically turbulent Thailand in the past, and Yingluck’s opponents fear her party could fall victim to another judicial or military coup.
The attempt to reform the senate would have returned it to its pre-coup structure – something observers say the establishment wants to avoid, to limit Thaksin’s electoral dominance.
Yingluck’s government still enjoys strong support in the north and northeast of the country and is expected to win the February polls if they go ahead.
comments powered by Disqus
The Turkish government has fired 350 police officers in Ankara, local media reported Tuesday, the latest twist in a vast corruption scandal that has ensnared key allies of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Full story
South Sudan’s government said Tuesday that it was poised to recapture a key town from rebel forces, as peace talks being held in neighbouring Ethiopia appeared to be making slow progress. Full story
Iraqi troops will delay an offensive against the militant-held city of Fallujah for fear of causing civilian casualties, an official said on Tuesday, while fighting and missile strikes in nearby Ramadi killed 29 people. Full story
Gunmen shot and killed at least 30 people, burned down 40 homes and made off with scores of cattle from a mainly Christian village, survivors and a legislator said on Tuesday as ongoing ethnic-religious conflict over land... Full story
Over three quarters of Britons want a reduction in immigration, according to a survey published on Tuesday, highlighting public concern about a subject being fiercely debated between the country’s main political parties. Full story
A Spanish court summoned King Juan Carlos’ youngest daughter Cristina over suspected tax and money-laundering crimes Tuesday, a first for a direct relative of the monarch. Cristina, 48, has been linked to the business affairs... Full story
A lawyer for Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade is seeking to postpone proceedings in a visa fraud case that has created tensions between the United States and India, citing the need to continue ‘meaningful... Full story
Astronomers call them super-Earths, and they are abundant outside our solar system. But the more experts learn about them, the weirder our own planet seems in comparison. Planets the size of Earth and up to four times larger... Full story
Dozens of journalists staged a rare demonstration Tuesday morning in Myanmar’s biggest city to protest a jail term given to a reporter who was working on a story about corruption. Wearing black T-shirts with slogans... Full story
Syrian rebels have killed 34 foreign fighters from al-Qaeda-linked groups in the northwest of the country over the last three days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday. The killings in the Jabal al-Zawiya region... Full story