Walls close in on Thailand’s Yingluck

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will face corruption charges related to a troubled rice-subsidy scheme. Are her days in protest-plagued office now numbered?

Dylan Martinez/Reuters/File
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra poses for foreign media at the Government House in Bangkok, Dec. 7, 2013. Thailand's anti-corruption body said on Feb. 18 that it had filed charges against Ms. Shinawatra relating to irregularities in the government's rice-buying scheme, and it summoned her to appear to face the charges on Feb. 27.

Thailand’s anticorruption body announced Tuesday that it will file charges against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra related to a troubled rice-subsidy scheme. As the long arm of the law reached to the top of the Thai government, long-running street protests grew more violent with the death of four people in gun and grenade clashes.

It was a bad day for Ms. Yingluck, whose days are looking numbered.

“This indictment is a really serious turn of events for Yingluck,” says our correspondent in Bangkok. “The rice scheme is the slow-burning element to this political crisis, which wasn’t immediately interesting or headline grabbing, but has been showing over time to be maybe her biggest undoing.”

The failed scheme has turned some farmers – normally Yingluck’s core supporters – into some of the most hard-core opponents of the regime, our correspondent adds. “It has also provided the judiciary [and] some of these government bodies a solid reason to go after her under the law.” For more on the particulars of the rice scheme, read our earlier coverage here.

Yingluck’s party supporters, so-called Red Shirts, have promised to protest nationwide if her government falls. Analysts tell our correspondent that the next government in that scenario would be some form of committee, which would try to pass various election reforms. But the committee may not be able... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Global Outlook.

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