Thailand’s Supreme Court is set to deliver a verdict against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on charges of wasting billions of dollars on a rice subsidy scheme when she was in power.
In 2011, Yingluck sailed to victory in a general election and introduced a scheme to buy rice above market prices from farmers, her core constituents, store it and resell it later at a higher price. It appealed to agricultural voters, who make up nearly 40 percent of the labor force, and are the backbone of Yingluck’s party.
But the scheme backfired and caused Thailand to lose eight billion dollars and its crown as the world’s largest exporter of the grain.
Yingluck was ousted in a May 2014 coup by the military and banned from politics for five years in 2015, but she remains a figurehead of the populist movement that has won every Thai Election since 2001.
If convicted on Friday, she could face a 10 year jail term.