|Thai caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra(C) greets supporters after a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, May 7, 2014. Thailand's Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled that the prime minister status of Yingluck Shinawatra was ended for abusing power in a personnel transfer in 2011. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)
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BANGKOK, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled that the prime minister status of Yingluck Shinawatra was ended for abusing power in a personnel transfer in 2011.
Nine other caretaker cabinet members were also removed from office for their involvement in the transfer of Thawil Pliensri from the post of secretary general of the National Security Council (NSC) in 2011.
The court said Yingluck had a hidden agenda in the transfer that was intended to benefit a relative, and she had committed a conflict of interest. As a result, the transfer was illegitimate, unconstitutional and unethical.
The nine deposed cabinet members are Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog, Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, PM's Office Minister Santi Promphat, Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap, Deputy Defence Minister Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapha and Deputy Commerce Minister Siriwat Kachornprasart.
The court said the remaining cabinet members would continue to perform caretaker duties until a new cabinet takes office.
Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, earlier acting deputy premier and commerce minister under Yingluck's cabinet, has been appointed as the new caretaker prime minister.
Niwatthamrong used to work as a top executive of Shin Corporation, a private-owned conglomerate earlier owned by the Shinawatra family.
Yingluck made a statement at the Office of the Undersecretary for Defense following the court's verdict to repeat her dismissal of the allegations that she had had vested personal interests in the transferring of the NSC chief.
"I've performed my duties with honesty, morality and abided by the rules of law and constitution. I never practiced corruption or provided undue interests to anyone."
"I've always been proud of being elected prime minister under democratic rule and devoted myself to doing my duties...I've had that feeling everyday since the last two years and nine months," said the deposed lady leader.
That was the period of time which Yingluck has been in power following the 2011 election, which saw her Pheu Thai (for Thais) Party win overwhelming votes and become core of a coalition government.
With tears falling down her face, Yingluck waved good-bye to a crowd of about 400 women from the provinces who had peacefully gathered outside the undersecretary's office in the capital's northern outskirts to show morale support for her.
She said she will invariably uphold democratic rule but declined to say whether or not she will somehow continue to be in the political arena.
She said it is yet "too soon" for her to decide about that.
The Pheu Thai Party, core of the caretaker government, denounced the court ruling, calling it a conspiracy to try to topple a democratic government.
In a statement, the party called on people who disagreed with the verdict to express their opposition by peaceful means such as peaceful demonstrations.
Both pro-government "red shirts" and anti-government protesters have planned to hold a major rally on May 10 and 14, respectively. It remains to be seen whether there will be confrontation between the opposing sides.
Legal advisor and political analyst Verapat Pariyawong was concerned about possible violence on the street, which he said would pave way for military intervention.
"The question is will the current government without Yingluck be able to hold it together," Verapat said.
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