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Fighting for VirtueJustice and Politics in Thailand$
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Duncan McCargo

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449994

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449994.001.0001

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Crimes of Thaksin

Crimes of Thaksin

(p.170) 7 Crimes of Thaksin
Fighting for Virtue

Duncan McCargo

Cornell University Press

This chapter addresses some of the legal cases brought against Thaksin Shinawatra, his political parties, and his sister Yingluck. A series of important legal decisions from November of 2013 onwards went against the pro-Thaksin side, so lending credence to the idea that the courts in general—and the Constitutional Court in particular—favored the conservative establishment. Yet these anti-Thaksin judgments need to be seen in the context of a series of pro-Thaksin (or at least pro-Yingluck) judgments issued during the period from mid-2011 to late 2013, when an elite pact was in operation to allow Yingluck Shinawatra to serve as prime minister. A series of Thaksin-related cases illustrated the profound ambiguity of legal responses to Thailand's most troublesome ex-premier. Thaksin's parties were shut down by the courts twice, but were allowed to reconstitute themselves under new names and near-identical logos. Similarly, the Constitutional Court's removal of Samak Sundaravej from the premiership in 2008 was a piece of sound and fury that signified nothing: Thaksin, not the courts, prevented Samak's immediate reinstatement as prime minister. The legal cases that led to the departures of Thaksin and later Yingluck Shinawatra from Thailand were also fraught with ambiguity. The outcomes of all these cases reflected hesitancy and confusion on the part of the judiciary, rather than the actions of a coherent and unified deep state. Such judicial dilemmas arose partly because the monarchical network had a deeply conflicted relationship with the Shinawatras, one that was alternately antagonistic and collaborative.

Keywords:   Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck Shinawatra, Thai courts, Constitutional Court, judiciary, monarchy

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