Banharn Silpa-archa

Banharn Silpa-archa, 1932–2016, Thai businessman and political leader. Born into a family of ethnic Chinese traders, he grew wealthy during the 1960s economic boom and became a political power broker in Suphanburi province. He joined the conservative Chart Thai party (1974), was first elected to parliament in 1976, and became party leader in 1992. Banharn served in several ministerial posts and was prime minister (1995–96) of a governing coalition formed with other regional leaders. His 18-month tenure, marked by corruption scandals and economic mismanagement, contributed to the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997. His party was dissolved by court order in 2008, and Banharn was banned from politics for five years.

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