(UPDATE 15:44 : Cabinet meeting has confirmed Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan as Acting PM

Bloomberg profile:

Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan served as the Chairman of the Executive Committee-Media and Advertising Business of Shin Corp. Public Co. Ltd. since 1995 and as Vice Chairman of Group Executive Committee since 2000. Mr. Boonsongpaisan served from 2001 to 2002 as Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of ITV PLC and from 1993 to 1995 as President of Shinawatra Computer and Communicaitons PLC. Mr. Boonsongpaisan served as Director of ITV Plc since 2002. He served as a Director of Shin Corporation Public Company Limited from 2001 to March 16, 2006. He has been Chairman of the Executive Committee of ITV Plc since 2002. Mr. Boonsongpaisan holds Master’s Degree Course work in Computer Sciences from Chulalongkorn University and Bachelor ‘s Degree in Education from Srinakarintrawirot University.

BP: Long time working for Shin companies. Cue outrage. Little surprised they went with Niwattumrong and not Pongthep. Both have Thaksin connections, but Pongthep has much more political experience.

NOTE: Acting caretaker* (รักษาการนายกฯแทน) PM instead of caretaker (รักษาการ) PM appears the better term. This was what was used with Chaovarat C in 2008.

*Have changed this.

….

Today, the Court decision:

1. Can the Court rule on the status of the PM despite the dissolution and PM being Caretaker? Yes

2. Was Yingluck involved in the transfer of Thawil? Yes, she had a part (มีส่วนเกี่ยวข้องกับการโยกย้าย)

3. Was it against the Constitution? Court says it was only 4 days and too quick and unreasonable, Yes, Court said was done to benefit her relative so deemed to benefit her and others.

AP:

“Transferring government officials must be done in accordance with moral principle,” the court said in its ruling, read aloud on live television for almost 90 minutes. “Transferring with a hidden agenda is not acceptable.

“The Constitutional Court has ruled unanimously that (Yingluck) has used her status as the prime minister to intervene for her own and others’ benefits to (transfer) a government official,” which violated Article 268 of the Constitution, and ended her rule as prime minister, the court said in its verdict.

Section 266:

A member of the House of Representatives and a senator shall not, through the status or position of member of the House of Representatives or senator, interfere or intervene the following matters, directly or indirectly, for the benefit of his own or other persons or of political party:

(2) the recruitment, appointment, reshuffle, transfer, promotion and elevation of the salary scale of a government official holding a permanent position or receiving salary and not being a political official, an official or employee of a government agency, State agency, State enterprise or local government organisation;

(3) the removal from office of a government official holding a permanent position or receiving salary and not being a political official, an official or employee of a government agency, State agency, State enterprise or local government organisation.

..

Section 268.

The Prime Minister and a Minister shall not perform any act in violation of the provisions of section 266, except the performance of powers and duties for the administration of State affairs as stated to the National Assembly or as provided by law.

What this means?

Section 182:

The ministership of an individual Minister terminates upon:

(7) having done an act prohibited by section 267, section 268 or section 269;

BP: So Yingluck gone. Court reasoning:

A journalist from The Nation also tweets: 

BP: The journalist points out the problems for any future transfers and the government cannot state the person is appropriate citing their experience and knowledge is not enough

4. What does this mean for the rest of the Cabinet? Only 9 other Cabinet Members in the current Cabinet who were in Cabinet at the time of Thawil transfer in September 2011 are also removed, but remaining Cabinet Members stay

Section 180. Ministers vacate office en masse upon:

(1) the termination of ministership of the Prime Minister under section 182;

(2) the expiration of the term or the dissolution of the House of Representatives;

(3) the resignation of the Council of Ministers.

In the case where the ministership of the Prime Minister terminates under section 182 (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (7) or (8), the procedure under section 172 and section 173 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

BP: However, we also have Section 181.

The outgoing Council of Ministers shall remain in office for carrying out duty until the newly appointed Council of Ministers takes office…

BP:  The Court found those Cabinet Members at the time of the Thawil transfer also gone including Yingluck there are only 10 of them as per Thai Rath (and Matichon) below:

  1. Prime Minister and Defence Minister Yingluck Shinawatra 
  2. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong
  3. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul
  4. Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Plodprasop Suraswadi
  5. Deputy Prime Minister Pol Gen Pracha Promnok
  6. PM Office Minister Santi Prompat
  7. Deputy Minister of Defence General Yuthasak Sasiprapha
  8. Deputy Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Siriwat Kachornprasart
  9. Minister of Labour Pol Capt Dr. Chalerm Yubamrung 
  10. Minister of Information and Communication Technology Grp Cpt Anudith Nakornthap

As blogged yesterday, where Yingluck and Thawil Cabinet at time of decision (which is (2) below) are removed:

If not (4) then (2). BP views the government/Puea Thai would accept (2) as long as the Cabinet continues as a caretaker Cabinet and we can still proceed with an election (as an Acting PM can fulfill the role of PM until the election and the likely acting PM is Deputy PM Pongthep), but (4) will almost certainly lead to protests by reds and government supporters.

BP: Reds won’t be happy, but Deputy PMs remaining include Yukol Limlamthong, Phongthep Thepkanjana, and Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisarn. By BP’s count this still leaves 25 Ministers or Deputy Ministers (Amy of Reuters says 26 although have seen another list which says 24 (UPDATE: It is 24, forget to remove Dr Piraphan the Science Minister who died last week)), but regardless most of the Cabinet is still there.

The Court didn’t rule on whether Senate can vote on new PM (and thus install new Cabinet) so they didn’t exercise the nuclear option. They got rid of Yingluck (and Surapong and Chalerm), but the Puea Thai-led government as such remain so not sure that PDRC will be happy either. The plaintiffs who wanted the entire Cabinet gone also won’t be happy. The stalemate continues….