The plot is thickening in Thailand’s political drama, with elections penciled in for July 20 now in doubt if the country’s Constitutional Court removes Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Wednesday for allegedly overstepping her authority by removing a top civil servant. The country’s Election Commission Tuesday said it has held back from filing a draft decree on calling the elections to Cabinet, and is apparently waiting to see how the situation will unfold. The court could either remove Ms. Yingluck alone, which paves the way for one of her deputies to become prime minister. Or it could remove her entire Cabinet, leading to a political vacuum that might enable the Senate to appoint an interim prime minister more acceptable to the country’s royalist establishment, members of which have been campaigning for Ms. Yingluck’s removal on the streets of Bangkok for over six months. Either way, the timing of fresh elections will be in doubt, assuming they are held at all – and that’s something that could further enrage Ms. Yingluck’s supporters in the populist Red Shirt movement. The group’s leaders are calling for demonstrations Wednesday evening and are planning a large rally for Saturday.
Thailand’s judiciary voided an earlier election on Feb. 2 after widespread protests prevented sufficient candidates being elected to open Parliament, leaving Ms. Yingluck’s administration in a care-taking limbo with little real power.
Opposition politicians led by Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva have been campaigning again to delay elections in recent weeks, pressing for a sustained period of political reform designed to dilute the influence of populist politicians such as Ms. Yingluck and her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who led the country until he was ousted in a military coup in 2006.