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Thailand's first female PM skewered by courts and family ties

Published on May 7, 2014 4:21 PM

BANGKOK (AFP) - Ultimately undone by Thailand's courts, Ms Yingluck Shinawatra laboured under claims that she was a stooge for her exiled brother. Yet the kingdom's first female prime minister also displayed unexpected resilience during a turbulent stay in office.

Propelled to power in July 2011 by her family's electoral base in the poor north and north-east, Ms Yingluck was pilloried by foes as a political lightweight armed with little more than a winning smile and a hotline to her elder brother Thaksin Shinawatra - who once referred to her as his "clone".

Thaksin, a divisive billionaire tycoon-turned premier, lives in self-imposed exile to avoid jail in Thailand for corruption convictions, and is widely believed to be the guiding force behind his sister. He was ousted by an army coup in 2006, which opened a seemingly unbridgeable chasm between his supporters and enemies.

Ms Yingluck's premiership was scuttled on Wednesday by the Constitutional Court which ruled that she abused her power in transferring a top security official shortly after she came to power.

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