Thai PM loses bid to delay negligence hearing

Thai PM loses bid to delay negligence hearing
Yingluck Shinawatra.

BANGKOK- Thailand's anti-corruption authorities rejected a request Thursday by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to extend a deadline to defend herself against negligence charges that could see her banned from politics.

Yingluck has been summoned to appear before the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) by Monday.

Her legal team asked the panel for 45 more days to prepare its case, according to one of her lawyers, Norrawit Larlaeng.

"They did not allow it because they said our reasons were not logical and we have had enough time already," he told AFP.

Yingluck has been charged in connection with a rice subsidy scheme, and could face an impeachment vote in the upper house of parliament within weeks.

The NACC says that Yingluck was warned of corruption allegations and financial losses linked to the flagship policy but failed to take action.

Norrawit said the defence team had been denied the chance to review the evidence against her.

"The prime minister feels the investigation against her has been rushed and it is unfair as we cannot see the evidence," he said.

The kingdom has been deeply divided since a military coup in 2006 that ousted Yingluck's brother Thaksin Shinawatra, a tycoon-turned-politician who lives in Dubai to avoid prison for a corruption conviction.

Supporters of the Shinawatra family, known as the "Red Shirts", have warned they will not accept the removal of another democratically elected government.

The Red Shirts' street rallies against the previous government in 2010 resulted in bloody street clashes and a military crackdown that left dozens dead.

Yingluck has faced nearly five months of street demonstrations by rival protesters backed by the anti-Thaksin royalist establishment.

The opposition demonstrators want to remove the premier from office and install an unelected "people's council" to oversee political reforms.

Last week the Constitutional Court nullified a February general election disrupted by the protesters, angering government supporters. No new polling date has yet been set.

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