The Thai opposition saw its rivals in government dealt a major blow on Wednesday. After weeks of deliberations, the Constitutional Court ruled that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had “violated the constitution” when she transferred a bureaucrat out of the national security council three years ago. Not much of a crime, really. But it was enough for the nine judges on the Constitutional Court, who voted unanimously for her to be tossed out of office.Shinawatra’s ouster is a pivotal moment in Thailand’s months-long political crisis, but by no means the end. Bloomberg reports on the activities of Thailand’s rival political groups since the decision:
The government’s mainly rural supporters called the Red Shirts have vowed to rally in Bangkok on May 10, while leaders across the spectrum and the army chief have warned a politically-divided Thailand is at risk of civil war. Political violence has killed at least 25 people since November….Opponents of Yingluck have demanded she make way for an unelected government that would rewrite the nation’s political rules to remove her family’s influence. The protesters have said a verdict removing Yingluck would create the political vacuum needed to install an interim government.
The opposition essentially wants to establish a non-democratic government because it can’t hope to win an election against the more numerous government supporters. An election is currently scheduled for July 20, though it’s not clear if it will take place. The opposition (ironically named the Democrat Party) vowed to disrupt any upcoming elections until the rules were changed to make sure their rivals couldn’t win.“The situation would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous,” reads an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, Thailand is approaching a tipping point. The aging King avoids day-to-day politics while the rival government and opposition forces battle with words and sometimes fists and the occasional grenade. In a separate conflict, separatists in the south are growing bolder, using car bombs to make their intentions and capabilities known up north. And even though the opposition appears to have succeeded in getting rid of Shinawatra, her family and her party retain an almost fanatical following. We haven’t seen the last of the Shinawatras, nor the end of the latest chapter of the Thai conflict.