Thailand | Fallout from a Corrupt Government
- Thailand Main Page
- A Military Coup and Government Failure
- Economic Collapse and Subsequent Growth
- The Violent Drug Trade and Insurgency; A Tsunami Devastates
- Fallout from a Corrupt Government
- A New Constitution and the End of Military Rule
- The People's Alliance for Democracy and Protesting Status Quo
- Anti-Government Protests Continue and Turn Deadly
- Party Backed by Thaksin Shinawatra Sweeps 2011 Elections
- Elections Held Despite Anti-Government Protests
- Military Stages a Coup
Fallout from a Corrupt Government
Thaksin made history in the Feb. 2005 elections, becoming the first prime minister to serve two consecutive terms. His Thai Rak Thai Party won in a landslide. He was criticized during his first term for alleged corruption, for failing to control the insurgency in the south, and for an ineffective response to Thailand's avian flu outbreak, but his deft handling of the tsunami crisis increased his popularity in the days leading up to the election. A year later, however, Thaksin faced intense criticism when he sold his family's share of a communications company for nearly $2 billion without paying taxes. About 60,000 demonstrators gathered in Bangkok and called for his resignation. In addition, two of his cabinet members resigned in protest. Facing mounting criticism over the sale, Thaksin dissolved parliament in late February and called for early elections. He announced his resignation in April, just days after his Thai Rak Thai Party won 57% of the vote in national elections. After leaving office for seven weeks, Thaksin again returned to the role of prime minister.
In September 2006, the military, led by Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, staged a bloodless coup and declared martial law while Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was at the meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York. In October, Surayud Chulanont, a respected retired general, was sworn in as prime minister. The military council that installed Chulanont announced that a new general election will be held in late 2007, after a new constitution had been written.
In May 2007, a constitutional court found the political party of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Thai Rak Thai, guilty of election fraud and banned it from participating in government for five years.