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Thais reflect on prime minister's removal

As rival demonstrations grip Bangkok, average Thais reflect on the removal of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Last updated: 10 May 2014 10:23
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After months of unrest, Thais are divided over the removal of former PM Yingluck Shinawatra [Al Jazeera]

Bangkok, Thailand - The country's highest office has once again become vacant after the Constitutional Court ordered caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra out of office on Wednesday.

Supporters and opponents of Shinawatra held rival rallies in Bangkok on Saturday, in the latest round of demonstrations in the divided country. A new election had been planned, but no date had been agreed with the country's electoral commission.

Thailand has been in a state of political flux since the second half of 2013.

The Shinawatra family has become a powerful political force in recent years. Yingluck is the second Shinawatra to be removed from office in the past decade. The first, her brother Thaksin, has been in exile in Dubai since 2008. Accusations that Thaksin was exterting influence over his sister helped spur recent unrest. 

Yingluck's removal by the court was linked to a scandal involving a government-backed agricultural scheme in the rice sector. But her ouster reflects deeper divisions between poor Thais living in the country's northeast and middle class urbanites.

The Thanksin family has won the support of many working-class Thais, while their opponents believe they are dividing the country.

Al Jazeera spoke with Thai citizens to get their opinions on the country's future following the ouster of the prime minister. 

Piraporn Daengsri, 55, health consultant from Krabi

Piraporn Daengsri [Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul/Al Jazeera]

Everybody, including [myself], must respect the court's ruling although I am not pleased with it. I want to see [the] entire caretaker cabinet gone; we can start the reform before holding the next election. During that [time], I don't mind if the prime minister is not from PDRC [The People's Democratic Reform Committee, an anti-Shinawatra group]. It can be anyone good and neutral.

"I think that the conflict will be more and more intense from now on. It will probably lead to bloodshed but I don't think that both sides will step back. Mr Suthep [a PDRC leader] has to keep fighting until the reform takes place. 

 

Itthipong Lamoonpandh, 57, freelance tourist guide in Bangkok 

Itthipong Lamoonpandh [Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul/Al Jazeera]

Earlier, I guessed that the court would judge only Yingluck. But they also kicked out all related ministers too. I think it's very fair and I totally agree with it. However, I don't think this is the end of our fighting as long as we cannot completely get rid of the Thaksin regime in Thailand.

The caretaker government should do everything to move the election forward while the anti-government [forces] will do everything to obstruct it. But I strongly believe that the victory finally belongs to people.

 

Thitiwat Srisathaporn, 49, teacher in Bangkok
Thitiwat Srisathaporn [Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul/Al Jazeera]

The court's ruling was unanimous [9-0]. Hence, it was obviously fair that caretaker PM Yingluck and nine other cabinet ministers had to be removed from office for the abuse of power. However, the red-shirted people [pro-Shinawatra protesters] should have some movement against this soon.

I would like Mr Suthep to gather competent people and ask leaders to find out how to stop the Pheu Thai Party [Yingluck Shinawatra's group] from holding the election and how to prevent a political vacuum. I prefer having a caretaker Prime Minister who is proposed by the Thai people, not the Pheu Thai Party.

I prefer every party to talk and find the way out together. The longer this conflict takes, the more the country will be demolished.

Tripop Suwansupa, 56, buisness owner and legal consultant
Tripop Suwansupa [Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul/Al Jazeera]

I don't agree with the court's verdict because they did not rule according to the law. They set their own rules and it is obvious that they would like to have the political vacuum. If the court itself disrespects the law, where can we find the legitimacy?

Amidst this crisis, the court should mainly consider [judgements] by basing [outcomes for] the country's sake. They should have postponed and ruled it later when the situation is not as hot as it is now.

This crisis will not end soon. But I believe that it will finally end with negotiations if all parties stop delivering hate speech and respect the laws.

Kanjana Chanplengsri, 53, Translator in Bangkok
Kanjana Chanplengsri [Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul/Al Jazeera]

I personally didn't think that the court had the right to rule on this case since the beginning. No matter what the result is, it does not mean anything to me. The way that the court behaved has intensified the conflict in Thailand.

I see no way out for this crisis. It is sad to think that we will not see a complete and peaceful election in Thailand soon. I do not want to imagine that it will lead to civil war, but I think it's possible.

 

 

Komsan trongthrongdee, 47, Merchant in Bangkok

Komsan Trongthrongdee [Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul/Al Jazeera]

I don't understand why the prime minister has no right to transfer the civil servants. It's clear that the court is unfair, isn't it?

The country has reached the climax. It is too late for Suthep to stop. Certainly, sooner or later a civil war will occur. But positively, it will probably be a significant change for the country and lead to a better future and real democracy."

 

 

 

Promkaew On-choom, 63, retired civil servant from Suratthani

Promkaew On-choom [Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul/Al Jazeera]

I am not sure if the court has the authority to judge. But they are one of the tools to get the ongoing conflict to end soon. So, I am not against it. I actually yearn for truth and fairness, but it's too confusing here. Hence, whatever can stop this crisis and lead the country to a better future, I support that.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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