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Thailand PM faces legal challenge for transferring government official

[JURIST] Thailand's Constitutional Court [official website] announced Wednesday that they will hear a case accusing Prime Minster Yingluck Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of misconduct for transferring her National Security Council [official website, in Thai] chief to another position. The complaint, filed by opposition leaders, accuses Shinwatra of violating the Constitution when in 2009 she demoted Tawin Pleansri from his position as head of the National Security Council to an adviser to the prime minister. The Supreme Administrative Court [official website] in March upheld [WSJ report] a lower court ruling that Tawin's transfer order was unlawful and ordered for his reinstatement. Yingluck has 15 days to defend her case before the Constitutional Court. If found guilty of violating the constitution or interfering in state affairs for her personal benefit she would have to step down [WP report] as prime minister immediately.

Thailand has been rocked by months continuous street protests aimed at forcing Yingluck from office. In February the Constitutional Court rejected petitions [JURIST report] filed by both the ruling and opposition parties accusing each other of attempting to overthrow the country's government during recent elections. In November Yingluck announced [JURIST report] that there will be no early election in response to recent protests by citizens who want her removed from office. Also in November the prime minister invoked [JURIST report] a special security law in districts of Bangkok and nearby areas after protesters stormed and occupied several key ministries. The law, known as the Internal Security Act, gives police additional powers to block routes, impose curfews, ban gatherings and carry out searches. Thailand's political system has been unstable since the 2006 military coup [AHRC backgrounder, PDF] by the Royal Thai Army against then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile], brother of Yingluck.

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