Pressure on Thailand’s embattled government mounted on Tuesday, when a flagship rice-buying scheme vital to its support stumbled closer to collapse and the opposition filed legal challenges that could void a disrupted weekend election.
The crisis in the rice scheme is a humiliating blow for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra – it helped sweep her to power in 2011, but has become mired in allegations of corruption and growing losses that are making it increasingly hard to fund.
The commerce minister said China had cancelled an order for 1.2 million tons of rice due to a corruption probe, while state-run Krung Thai Bank (KTB) joined other lenders in saying it would not provide loans urgently needed to rescue it.
Protesters succeeded in disrupted voting in a fifth of constituencies in Sunday’s election. The incomplete poll means Yingluck could head a caretaker administration for months, unable to make policy decisions, while demonstrators continue to block parts of the capital as they have been since November.
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