What happens to the Cabinet if Yingluck is removed?
Share this on

What happens to the Cabinet if Yingluck is removed?

After some previous posts looking at this issue, BP has taken another look. The two ways to remove Yingluck are through impeachment under Section 274 (but this taking longer than expected so seems less likely) OR because she did a prohibited act (seemingly more likely now), but under both Yingluck’s ministership is terminated under Section 182 which is excerpted below:

Section 182. The ministership of an individual Minister terminates upon:

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

(8) being removed from office by a resolution of the Senate under section 274.

BP: Saksith has laid out the basics for Yingluck’s removal under Section 182(7) by way of Section 268. For now, will just assume Yingluck will either be found to have done a prohibited act under either Section 182(7) or impeached under Section 182(8), but then what happens?

It has been said this would lead to the removal of the entire Cabinet. The Nation:

Political observers say the case could deliver a fatal legal blow to Yingluck and her caretaker government, because if she is found guilty of breaching the Constitution, she will lose the premiership automatically and her entire Cabinet could be removed too.

Observers believe the court is likely to rule against her based on the Supreme Administrative Court’s verdict that the transfer of Thawil to the position of prime minister’s adviser was unlawful.

Yingluck is likely to face the same fate as late prime minister Samak Sundaravej, who was purged from office in 2008 after the Constitutional Court ruled he had violated the Constitution by accepting payments to appear on cooking TV shows while in office. As a result of the decision against Samak, his entire Cabinet was also required to step down.

The relevant section is Section 180:

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: If the ministership of the PM is terminated under either Section 182 (7) or (8), the entire Cabinet is deemed to have vacated office en masse per Section 180(1), but the entire Cabinet has already been deemed to have vacated en masse under Section 180(2) so removing Yingluck doesn’t change this. There is no double removal.  Then you have to remember Section 181:

Section 181. The outgoing Council of Ministers shall remain in office for carrying out duty until the newly appointed Council of Ministers takes office, but in case of vacation of office under section 180 (2) the Council of Ministers and a Minister is able to carry out any duty as necessary within the following conditions:

BP:  There has been precedent for this previously which have just found now.

On December 2, 2008, when PPP was dissolved, then PM Somchai who was a party executive lost his MP status and then lost his position as PM under Section 182 so Chaovarat was designated as Acting PM by the Cabinet on December 3. A petition was filed to the Constitutional Court by 25 Senators asking about the status of Ministers and whether Deputy PM [Chaovarat] is able to take assume the position of Acting PM in accordance with the Cabinet decision of December 3 (ขอให้ศาลวินิจฉัยถึงความเป็นรัฐมนตรีของคณะรัฐมนตรีว่าจะสิ้นสุดลงหลังจากความเป็นรัฐมนตรีของนายสมชาย วงศ์สวัสดิ์ นายกรัฐมนตรีได้สิ้นสุดลง และวินิจฉัยว่านายชวรัตน์ ชาญวีระกูล รองนายกรัฐมนตรี จะสามารถดำรงตำแหน่งนายกรัฐมนตรีรักษาการตามมติครม.เมื่อวันที่ 3 ธ.ค.51 ได้หรือไม่).

The Court resolved not to accept the petition as it was a consultative/querying nature, but the Court Secretary-General added that  on September 9, 2008 [in regards to Samak’s case], the Constitutional Court had ruled that when the termination of ministership of the PM happens under Section 182 then the entire Cabinet is deemed to vacated office under Section 180(1), but as the termination of ministership of the PM on an individual basis then Ministers in the Cabinet who are left will continue their roles in a caretaker capacity until a newly appointed Cabinet takes place under Section 181  (นายไพบูลย์ กล่าวว่า ก่อนหน้านี้ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญเคยมีคำวินิจฉัยไปเมื่อวันที่ 9 ก.ย.51 ว่า เมื่อความเป็นรัฐมนตรีของนายกรัฐมนตรีสิ้นสุดลงเป็นการเฉพาะตัวตามรัฐธรรมนูญมาตรา 182 แล้ว ย่อมเป็นเหตุให้รัฐมนตรีทั้งคณะพ้นจากตำแหน่งตามรัฐธรรมนูญ มาตรา 180 วรรค 1(1) แต่ด้วยความเป็นรัฐมนตรีของนายกรัฐมนตรีสิ้นสุดลงเป็นการเฉพาะตัว จึงทำให้เฉพาะรัฐมนตรีในคณะรัฐมนตรีที่เหลืออยู่ยังคงปฏิบัติหน้าที่ต่อไปจนกว่าคณะรัฐมนตรีที่ตั้งขึ้นใหม่จะเข้ารับหน้าที่ตามรัฐธรรมนูญ มาตรา 181).

Therefore, when the Constitutional Court made a decision on December 2 to dissolve PPP, Somchai, was a PPP executive lost his ministership on an individual basis so the Ministers who are left don’t lack qualifications and characteristics to be ministers so they must continue in their position as the Cabinet until a new Cabinet takes Office (ดังนั้น เมื่อศาลรัฐธรรมนูญได้วินิจฉัยให้ยุบพรรคพลังประชาชนไปเมื่อวันที่ 2 ธ.ค.51 อันเป็นเหตุให้ความเป็นรัฐมนตรีของนายสมชาย ในฐานะกรรมการบริหารพรรคพลังประชาชน ซึ่งดำรงตำแหน่งนายกรัฐมนตรีสิ้นสุดลงเป็นการเฉพาะตัว ดังนั้น รัฐมนตรีที่เหลืออยู่ซึ่งไม่ขาดคุณสมบัติหรือมีลักษณะต้องห้ามของความเป็นรัฐมนตรี จึงต้องอยู่ในตำแหน่งเพื่อปฏิบัติหน้าที่ต่อไปจนกว่าคณะรัฐมนตรีที่ตั้งขึ้นใหม่จะเข้ามารับหน้าที่)
BP: The Court can change its mind and has been shown to be flexible when it comes to changing its mind when a pro-Thaksin government is in power, but it will need to explain away Section 181 which does not impose a time-limit on a caretaker government. The other way is to impeach or remove every Cabinet Minister. The whole point of Section 181 is so we are not in a position of limbo and a political vacuum. If the Cabinet holds steadfast, the Court can create a political vacuum by imposing a limit on the length of a caretaker government, but this would be by creation of the court and not be design.