Thai PM faces legal showdown over abuse of power allegations that could lead to her removal

The Associated Press

Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Yingluck defended herself Tuesday against abuse of power allegations in a crucial court case that is one of several legal challenges which could remove her from office. She is accused of abusing her authority by transferring her National Security Council chief in 2011 to another position. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

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A coalition government then cobbled together by the opposition Democrat Party had to use the army to put down pro-Thaksin demonstrations in 2010 that left more than 90 people dead in street battles, but Yingluck and her Pheu Thai party won a sweeping majority in a mid-2011 general election.

Yingluck's fortunes plunged when her party's lawmakers late last year used shady legislative tactics to try to ram through a law that would have given an amnesty to political offenders of the previous eight years, including Thaksin. The move reignited mass demonstrations against Thaksin and his political machine and eventual street fighting by anti-government toughs.

Seeking to ease the pressure, Yingluck in December dissolved the lower House and called elections for Feb. 2. But her opponents on the street disrupted the polls, which in turn were invalidated by the courts. More than 20 people have died in the latest political violence.

Yingluck's foes also have been seeking to topple her in the courts, in what her supporters describe as an attempt at a "judicial coup." It was anti-government senators who lodged the case over the transfer of National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri, a move previously ruled unlawful by another court.

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