Banharn Silpa-Archa
Banharn Silpa-archa was the 21st Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 of Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, from 13 July 1995 to 24 November 1996. He has been a veteran Sino-Thai Member of Parliament since 1976 as the elected representative of Suphanburi province. Since then, he has enjoyed unchallenged domination in Suphanburi. In every election he participated, he won by a landslide victory, receiving on average 60 to 90 per cent of the votes cast. Since 1994, he has been the leader of the opposition, Chart Thai Party
Chart Thai Party
Thai Nation Party , also known as Chart Thai, was a conservative political party in Thailand. It was dissolved by the Constitutional Court of Thailand on December 2, 2008, along with the People's Power Party and the Matchima party, for having violated electoral laws in the Thai general election, 2007...

, one of the oldest parties in Thailand. Between 1995 and 1996, he was the Prime Minister. During a state visit by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in October 1996 he mistakenly referred to her as Queen Elizabeth Taylor receiving many ridicules and criticisms as a result.

Throughout this seemingly versatile career, however, Banharn has been involved in numerous corruption scandals one of which diminished the concordance in his administration and caused him to resign. Many Thais call him all sorts of pejorative names, such as "Mr. ATM", portraying him as a politician who dispenses dirty money under the table to anyone who needs it. His short-lived yet highly inept administration is also believed to have paved the way for the economic crisis of 1997.

Born in Suphanburi Province
Suphanburi Province
Suphan Buri is one of the central provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom and Kanchanaburi.- Etymology :...

, he is a Thai Chinese
Thai Chinese
The Thai Chinese are an overseas Chinese community who live in Thailand. Thailand is home to the largest, oldest, most prominent, and most integrated overseas Chinese community in the world with a population of approximately 9.5 million people...

, with ancestry from Chaoyang. Part of his Thai name, Archa (อาชา), is a translation of his Chinese surname, Mǎ (馬), meaning "horse". On 21 January 2008, Banharn held a press conference in which he officially announced the merging of his Chart Thai Party with Thai Rak Thai
Thai Rak Thai
The Thai Rak Thai Party was a Thai political party that was officially banned on May 30, 2007, by the Constitutional Court of Thailand due to violations of electoral laws during the 2006 legislative elections. From 2001 to 2006, it was the ruling party under Prime Minister and its founder Thaksin...

's nominee party, the People's Power Party
People's Power Party (Thailand)
The People's Power Party was a Thai political party founded on November 9, 1998 by Police Lieutenant Colonel Garn Tienkaew. The party leader was Somchai Wongsawat, the Party Secretary General was Surapong Suebwonglee, and the Party Spokesperson was Kuthep Saikrajarng...

. Because he had earlier vowed before the Emerald Buddha
Emerald Buddha
The Emerald Buddha is the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand, a figurine of the sitting Buddha, made of green jadeite , clothed in gold, and about 45 cm tall...

 never to rejoin Thaksin because of the corruption scandals, Banharn has been given a new nickname — "Slippery Eel."

Upon the dissolution of his Chart Thai Party by the Constitutional Court
Constitutional Court of Thailand
The Constitutional Court of Thailand is an independent Thai court originally established under the 1997 Constitution with jurisdiction over the constitutionality of parliamentary acts, royal decrees, draft legislation, as well as the appointment and removal of public officials and issues regarding...

 on 2 December 2008, Banharn Silpa-archa was banned from politics for five years.

Banharn heads a family of politicians. His younger brother, Chumpol Silpa-archa
Chumpol Silpa-archa
Chumpol Silpa-archa is a Thai politician. He is the younger brother of former Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa. Since 2008, he has been Minister of Tourism and Sports in Abhisit Vejjajiva's cabinet and since January 2009 he has been the president of the Chartthaipattana Party.Chumpol holds a...

 is the leader of the Chartthaipattana Party, successor to the Chart Thai Party, and was Minister of Tourism and Sports
Ministry of Tourism and Sports (Thailand)
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Kingdom of Thailand is a Cabinet ministry in the Government of Thailand. The Ministry's primary area of responsibility are over Tourism and Sports in the Kingdom. The Ministry is in charge of promoting the tourist industry and promote sports both in...

 in the cabinet
Abhisit cabinet
The Abhisit Cabinet was announced after the appointment of Abhisit Vejjajiva as Prime Minister of Thailand on the 17 December 2008. The Cabinet line-up itself was announced on the 20 December, to the news media. The Cabinet was formally sworn in by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the 22...

 of Abhisit Vejjajiva
Abhisit Vejjajiva
Abhisit Vejjajiva , , ; born Mark Abhisit Vejjajiva; 3 August 1964 in Newcastle upon Tyne) is a Thai politician who was the 27th Prime Minister of Thailand from 2008 to 2011 and is the current leader of the Democrat Party...

. His son Warawut was deputy transport minister, and his daughter Kanchana was deputy education minister.

Royal decorations

Banharn has received the following royal decorations in the Honours System
Thai Honours Order of Precedence
State decorations awarded by Thailand take the form of orders and medals. This page lists them by order of precedence.-Royal decorations:# Knight and Dame of the Most Auspicious Order of the Rajamitrabhorn...

 of Thailand:
  • Knight Commander (Second Class, lower grade) of The Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao
    Order of Chula Chom Klao
    The Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao was established in 16 November 1873 by King Rama V of The Kingdom of Siam to commemorate the 90th Jubilee of the Chakri Dynasty, and bears his Name...

  • Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn
    Order of the Direkgunabhorn
    The Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn was established by King Rama IX on 22 July 1991 to be bestowed upon those who have rendered devotional services to the Kingdom of Thailand....

  • Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant
    Order of the White Elephant
    The Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant is the most awarded order of Thailand. It was established in 1861 by King Rama IV of the Kingdom of Siam.The Order consists of eight classes:...

  • Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand
  • Red Cross Medal of Appreciation (First Class)
  • Border Service Medal

External links

  • Opening Statement - to the Fifth ASEAN Summit
  • 'In search of good publicity' - Bangkok Post
    Bangkok Post
    The Bangkok Post is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper published in Bangkok, Thailand. The first issue was sold on August 1, 1946. It had four pages and cost 1 baht, a considerable amount at the time....

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