Thai protesters give ultimatum, intensify rallies

Updated: 2014-05-09 14:08


Thai protesters give ultimatum, intensify rallies

Anti-government protesters sit with riot policemen outside the National Broadcast Services of Thailand (NBT) television station in Bangkok May 9, 2014.[Photo/Agencies]

Economic Impact

More trouble would deepen worry about Southeast Asia's second-largest economy which is already teetering on the brink of recession amid weak exports, a year-long slump in industrial output and a drop in tourism, presided over by a caretaker government with curtailed powers. Consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in more than 12 years in April.

The anti-graft agency indicted Yingluck for negligence on Thursday - a day after the Constitutional Court threw her out of office - in connection with a rice-subsidy scheme under which the state paid farmers way above market prices for their crops.

The scheme, a flagship policy of Yingluck's administration, was aimed at helping her rural supporters. But the government could not sell much of the rice it quickly stockpiled and was unable to pay many farmers.

If Yingluck is found guilty by the Senate, she could be banned from politics for five years. Several other members of the family and about 150 of Thaksin's other political allies have been banned for five-year terms since 2007.

Yingluck dissolved parliament in December and called a snap election but the main opposition party boycotted it and anti-government activists disrupted it so much it was declared void.

Yingluck and the Election Commission agreed last week a new ballot should be held on July 20, but the date has not been formally approved.

Thaksin or his loyalists have won every election since 2001.

The anti-government protesters say Thaksin buys elections. They want to change the electoral rules before new polls to try to stop his party winning again.