Thaksin Shinawatra
Overview
 
Thaksin Shinawatra is a Thai
Thai
When used as an adjective, Thai refers to anything that originates from Thailand. As a noun it may refer to:* Thai language, a Tai-Kadai language spoken mainly in and around Thailand* Thai people, the dominant ethnic group of Thailand...

 businessman and politician, who was Prime Minister of Thailand from 2001 to 2006, when he was overthrown
Deposition (politics)
Deposition by political means concerns the removal of a politician or monarch. It may be done by coup, impeachment, invasion or forced abdication...

 in a military coup.

Thaksin founded Advanced Info Service
Advanced Info Service
Advanced Info Service PCL is Thailand's largest GSM mobile phone operator with 28.8 million customers as of February 2010. Founded in April 1986, AIS started off as a computer rental business...

, Thailand's most successful mobile phone operator, and became a billionaire
Billionaire
A billionaire, in countries that use the short scale number naming system, is a person who has a net worth of at least one billion units of a given currency, usually the United States dollar, Euro, or Pound sterling. Forbes magazine updates a complete list of U.S. dollar billionaires around the...

. Thaksin entered politics
Politics of Thailand
The politics of Thailand are currently conducted within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative branches.Thai kingdoms and late...

 in 1994 under Phalang Dharma Party
Phalang Dharma Party
The Phalang Dharma Party is a Thai political party founded by Chamlong Srimuang and supporters of the Santi Asoke sect of Buddhism in 1988.After 1992, it was led by business tycoon Boonchu Rojanastien and then future Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The party was known for its staunch opposition...

, left the party along with many of its MPs
House of Representatives of Thailand
The House of Representatives of the Kingdom of Thailand is the lower house of the National Assembly of Thailand, the legislative branch of the Thai Government. The system of government of Thailand is that of a Constitutional Monarchy and a Parliamentary Democracy. The system of the Thai...

 in 1996, and founded the populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

 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...

 (TRT) party in 1998.
Encyclopedia
Thaksin Shinawatra is a Thai
Thai
When used as an adjective, Thai refers to anything that originates from Thailand. As a noun it may refer to:* Thai language, a Tai-Kadai language spoken mainly in and around Thailand* Thai people, the dominant ethnic group of Thailand...

 businessman and politician, who was Prime Minister of Thailand from 2001 to 2006, when he was overthrown
Deposition (politics)
Deposition by political means concerns the removal of a politician or monarch. It may be done by coup, impeachment, invasion or forced abdication...

 in a military coup.

Thaksin founded Advanced Info Service
Advanced Info Service
Advanced Info Service PCL is Thailand's largest GSM mobile phone operator with 28.8 million customers as of February 2010. Founded in April 1986, AIS started off as a computer rental business...

, Thailand's most successful mobile phone operator, and became a billionaire
Billionaire
A billionaire, in countries that use the short scale number naming system, is a person who has a net worth of at least one billion units of a given currency, usually the United States dollar, Euro, or Pound sterling. Forbes magazine updates a complete list of U.S. dollar billionaires around the...

. Thaksin entered politics
Politics of Thailand
The politics of Thailand are currently conducted within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative branches.Thai kingdoms and late...

 in 1994 under Phalang Dharma Party
Phalang Dharma Party
The Phalang Dharma Party is a Thai political party founded by Chamlong Srimuang and supporters of the Santi Asoke sect of Buddhism in 1988.After 1992, it was led by business tycoon Boonchu Rojanastien and then future Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The party was known for its staunch opposition...

, left the party along with many of its MPs
House of Representatives of Thailand
The House of Representatives of the Kingdom of Thailand is the lower house of the National Assembly of Thailand, the legislative branch of the Thai Government. The system of government of Thailand is that of a Constitutional Monarchy and a Parliamentary Democracy. The system of the Thai...

 in 1996, and founded the populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

 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...

 (TRT) party in 1998. After a historic election victory in 2001, he became prime minister, the country's first to serve a full term.
Thaksin introduced a range of policies to alleviate rural poverty; highly popular, they helped reduce poverty by half in four years. He launched the country's first universal healthcare program, the 30-baht scheme
Health in Thailand
Data on health care is incomplete and out of date, but in 1995, Thailand had 0.3 physicians and 1.9 hospital beds per 1,000 citizens. In 2002, annual spending on health care amounted to US$321 per person in purchasing power parity...

, as well as a highly popular drug suppression campaign. Thaksin embarked on a massive program of infrastructure investment, including roads, public transit, and Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport , also known as Bangkok International Airport, is an international airport serving Bangkok, Thailand. It was officially opened for limited domestic flight service on 15 September 2006, and opened for most domestic and all international commercial flights on 28 September...

. Nevertheless, public sector debt fell from 57% of GDP in January 2001 to 41% in September 2006. Levels of corruption were perceived to have fallen, with Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

's Corruption Perceptions Index
Corruption Perceptions Index
Since 1995, Transparency International publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranking countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private...

 improving from 3.2 to 3.8 between 2001 and 2005. The Thai Rak Thai party won an unprecedented landslide in the 2005 general election, which had the highest voter turnout in Thai history.

The Shinawatra government faced allegations of corruption, authoritarianism, treason
Finland Plot
In Thailand politics, the Finland Plot, Finland Plan, Finland Strategy or Finland Declaration are names of a controversial theory espoused by Sondhi Limthongkul and supporters affiliated with the People's Alliance for Democracy in 2006 describing a plot allegedly developed by Thai Prime Minister...

, conflicts of interest
Conflicts of Interest
"Conflicts of Interest" is an episode from the fourth season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Arc significance:* Garibaldi begins to work for William Edgars. In the process Garibaldi is reintroduced to his ex-girlfriend, Lise, who is currently married to Edgars.* The "Voice of...

, acting non-diplomatically, and muzzling of the press
Censorship in Thailand
Freedom of speech in Thailand was guaranteed in the articles 39, 40, 41 in the 1997 Constitution.According to those articles, censorship may be imposed to preserve national security, maintain public order, preserve the rights of others, protect public morals, and prevent criticism of the royal...

. Thaksin was accused of tax evasion
Tax evasion
Tax evasion is the general term for efforts by individuals, corporations, trusts and other entities to evade taxes by illegal means. Tax evasion usually entails taxpayers deliberately misrepresenting or concealing the true state of their affairs to the tax authorities to reduce their tax liability,...

, lèse majesté
Lèse majesté
Lese-majesty is the crime of violating majesty, an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state.This behavior was first classified as a criminal offence against the dignity of the Roman republic in Ancient Rome...

 (insulting King Bhumibol), and selling assets of Thai companies to international investors. Independent bodies, including Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

, criticized Thaksin's human rights record. Thaksin was also charged for concealing his wealth during his premier.

Protests by the People's Alliance for Democracy
People's Alliance for Democracy
The People's Alliance for Democracy also called the National Liberation Alliance - กลุ่มพันธมิตรกู้ชาติ, Thai Patriots Network or the Yellow Shirts - เสื้อเหลือง - was originally a coalition of protesters against Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister of Thailand. Its leaders include...

 occurred in 2006, and on 19 September 2006 a military junta
Military junta
A junta or military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish language junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors...

 which later called itself the Council for National Security (CNS) overthrew Thaksin's government in a coup
2006 Thailand coup d'état
The 2006 Thai coup d'état took place on Tuesday 19 September 2006, when the Royal Thai Army staged a coup d'état against the elected caretaker government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra...

 while he was abroad. A CNS-appointed tribunal dissolved the Thai Rak Thai party for electoral fraud ex post facto, banning him and TRT's executives from politics for five years. The CNS-appointed Assets Examination Committee froze Thaksin and his family's assets in Thailand, totaling 76 billion baht ($2.2 billion), claiming he had become unusually wealthy while in office. Thaksin and his wife had declared assets totaling 15.1 billion baht when he took office in 2001, although he had transferred many of his assets to his children and associates before taking office.

Thaksin returned to Thailand on 28 February 2008, after 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...

, which he supported, won the post-coup elections. But after visiting Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics, he did not return to hear the final supreme court sentence and applied for asylum in the United Kingdom. This was refused, after which he had to move about from one country to another. In October, the Thailand Supreme Court found him guilty of a conflict of interest and sentenced him in absentia
In absentia
In absentia is Latin for "in the absence". In legal use, it usually means a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. The phrase is not ordinarily a mere observation, but suggests recognition of violation to a defendant's right to be present in court proceedings in a criminal trial.In...

 to two years imprisonment.

The People's Power Party was later dissolved by the Supreme Court, but party members regrouped to form the Pheu Thai Party, which Thaksin also supported. Thaksin is a supporter, and alleged bankroller, of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship
National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship
The United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship , whose supporters are commonly called "Red Shirts", is a political pressure group opposed to the People's Alliance for Democracy , the 2006 Thai military coup, and supporters of the coup. Notable UDD leaders include Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut...

 (aka "Red Shirts"). The Government revoked Thaksin's passport for his role in the UDD's protests during Songkran 2009. In 26 February 2010, the Supreme Court seized 46 billion baht of his frozen assets, after finding him guilty of abnormal wealth. In 2009 it was announced that Thaksin had obtained Montenegrin
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 citizenship through that country's economic citizenship program.

Early life

Thaksin's great-grandfather, Seng Sae Khu
Seng Sae Khu
Seng Sae Khu or Khu Chun Seng was a great-great-grandfather of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.Khu was a Hakka Chinese immigrant from Fengshun, Meizhou, Guangdong. He arrived in Siam in the 1860s. In 1908, he settled in Chiang Mai. He married a Thai woman named Sangdi...

, was a Chinese immigrant from Meizhou, Guangdong, China, who arrived in Siam in the 1860s and settled in Chiang Mai in 1908. His eldest son, Chiang Sae Khu, was born in Chanthaburi in 1890 and married a Thai woman, called Saeng Somna. Chiang's eldest son, Sak, adopted the Thai surname Shinawatra ("routinely appropriate action") in 1938 because of the country's anti-Chinese movement and the rest of the family also adopted it.

Seng Sae Khu had made his fortune through tax farming. Chiang Sae Khu/Shinawatra later founded Shinawatra Silks and then by moving into finance, construction and property development. Thaksin's father, Lert, was born in Chiang Mai in 1919 and married Yindi Ramingwong (a daughter of Princess Jantip Na Chiang Mai). In 1968, Lert Shinawatra entered politics and became an MP for Chiang Mai and deputy leader of the now-defunct Liberal party. Lert Shinawatra quit politics in 1976. Lert Shinawatra opened a coffee shop, grew oranges and flowers in Chiang Mai's San Kamphaeng district, and opened two movie theatres, a gas station, and a car and motorcycle dealership. By the time Thaksin was born, the Shinawatra family was one of the richest and most influential families in Chiang Mai.

Thaksin was born in San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai province. He lived in the village of San Kamphaeng until he was 15, then moved to Chiang Mai city to study at Montfort College
Montfort College
-History:The Brothers of St. Gabriel came to Chiang Mai and established Montfort Primary School in 1932 along Charoen Prathet Road on a plot of land provided by Bishop Peross from Luang Anusarn Suntorn who gave his financial support without interest. The land was located along the Ping River...

. At 16, he helped run one of his father's cinemas.

Thaksin married Potjaman Damapong
Potjaman Shinawatra
Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra , formerly Potjaman Shinawatra and born as Soypetpotjaman Damapong , , is the ex-wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Potjaman played a key role in the development of Thaksin's commercial enterprises in the 1980s...

 in 1980. They have one son, Panthongtae
Panthongtae Shinawatra
Panthongtae Shinawatra , nickname Oak, is the only son of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.He became a billionaire after having been given a large portion of his father's stock in Shin Corporation which transferred to him shortly before Thaksin ascended to the position of prime...

 and two daughters, Pintongtha and Peathongtarn. They divorced in 2008. Thaksin's youngest sister, Yingluck Shinawatra
Yingluck Shinawatra
Yingluck Shinawatra , or nickname Pu , is a Thai businesswoman and politician, member of the Pheu Thai Party, and the 28th Prime Minister of Thailand following the 2011 general election...

, entered politics in 2011 at her brother's request as leader of the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai Party and was elected prime minister on 3 July 2011.

Police career

Thaksin Shinawatra was a member of the 10th class of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School, and was then admitted to the Thai Police Cadet Academy. Upon graduation in 1973, he joined the Royal Thai Police
Royal Thai Police
The Royal Thai Police are the national police of Thailand.-About:Primary responsibility for the maintenance of public order through enforcement of the kingdom's laws was exercised by the Thailand National Police Department , a subdivision of the Ministry of Interior...

. He received a master's degree in Criminal Justice from Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University, commonly referred to as Eastern or by the acronym EKU by local residents, is an undergraduate and graduate teaching and research institution located in Richmond, Kentucky, U.S.A.. EKU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools...

 in the United States in 1975, and three years later was awarded a doctorate in Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University was founded in 1879 and is the third oldest public institution of higher learning in the State of Texas. It is located in Huntsville, Texas. It is one of the oldest purpose-built institutions for the instruction of teachers west of the Mississippi River and the first...

 in Texas. Returning to Thailand, he reached the position of Deputy Superintendent of the Policy and Planning Sub-division, General Staff Division, Metropolitan Police Bureau, before resigning in 1987 as a lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

. His former wife, Potjaman Damapong
Potjaman Shinawatra
Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra , formerly Potjaman Shinawatra and born as Soypetpotjaman Damapong , , is the ex-wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Potjaman played a key role in the development of Thaksin's commercial enterprises in the 1980s...

, is the daughter of a police general.

Early ventures

Thaksin and his wife began several businesses while he was still in the police, including a silk shop, a movie theater, and an apartment building. All were failures and left him over 50 million baht in debt. In 1982 he established ICSI; using his police contacts, he leased computers to government agencies with modest success. However, later ventures in security systems (SOS) and public bus radio services (Bus Sound) all failed. In April 1986, he founded Advanced Info Service
Advanced Info Service
Advanced Info Service PCL is Thailand's largest GSM mobile phone operator with 28.8 million customers as of February 2010. Founded in April 1986, AIS started off as a computer rental business...

 (AIS), which started off as a computer rental business.

In 1987 Thaksin resigned from the police. He then marketed a romance drama called "Baan Sai Thong", which became a popular success in theaters. In 1988 he joined Pacific Telesis
Pacific Telesis
Pacific Telesis Group was one of the seven Regional Bell Operating Companies, sometimes also referred to as "RBOCs" or "Baby Bells", created in 1983 in preparation of the breakup of AT&T as a holding company for Pacific Bell and Nevada Bell, Pacific Telesis International and several other...

 to operate and market the PacLink pager
Pager
A pager is a simple personal telecommunications device for short messages. A one-way numeric pager can only receive a message consisting of a few digits, typically a phone number that the user is then requested to call...

 service, a modest success, though Thaksin later sold his shares to establish his own paging company.
In 1989 he launched IBC, a cable television company. At that time, Thaksin had a very good relationship with Chalerm Yoobumrung the Minister of the Prime Minister Office who was in charge of Thai press and media. It is a question that remains unanswered whether Chalerm granted the right to Thaksin to establish IBC just to benefit his close friend, seeing that this project had been denied by the previous administration but instantly accepted a very short period after Chalerm came to office.
However, it turned out to lose money and he eventually merged this company with the CP Group's UTV.
In 1989, Thaksin established a data networking service, Shinawatra DataCom, today known as Advanced Data Network and owned by AIS and the TOT. Many of Thaksin's businesses were later consolidated as Shin Corp.

Advance Info Service and later ventures

Advance Info Service was given a monopoly contract by his contacts in the military in 1986 and operates under GSM 900 frequency. AIS grew rapidly and became the largest mobile phone operator in Thailand.

The Shinawatra Computer and Communications Group was founded in 1987 and listed
Stock Exchange of Thailand
The Stock Exchange of Thailand is the national stock exchange of Thailand. It is located in Bangkok. As of 31 December 2007, the Stock Exchange of Thailand had 541 listed companies with a combined market capitalization of $280 billion. The indices of the stock exchange are SET Index, SET50 Index...

 in 1990.

In 1990, Thaksin founded Shinawatra Satellite, which has developed and operated four Thaicom
Thaicom
Thaicom is the name of a series of communications satellites operated out of Thailand and the name of Thaicom Public Company Limited, which is the company that owns and operates the THAICOM satellite fleet and other telecommunication businesses in Thailand and throughout the...

 communications satellites.

In 1999, the Shinawatra family spent some 1 billion baht establishing Shinawatra University
Shinawatra University
Shinawatra University,, an international university in Thailand, was founded in 1996 by Thaksin Shinawatra. It emphasizes technology and management. SIU offers science, technology and engineering education, as well as related management programs...

 in Pathum Thani
Pathum Thani
Pathum Thani is a town in central Thailand, directly north of Bangkok. It is the capital of the Pathum Thani Province, Thailand as well as the Mueang Pathum Thani district. As of 2005, it has a population of 18,320, covering the complete subdistrict Bang Parok....

. It offered international programs in engineering, architecture, and business management.

In 2000, Mr.Thaksin acquired the ailing iTV
ITV (Thailand)
iTV was a television station in Thailand, owned by ITV Public Company Limited , a unit of Shin Corporation. Thailand's first UHF channel, the station was started in 1995 when the company was granted a 30-year concession by the Office of the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office to...

 television station from the Crown Property Bureau, Nation Multimedia Group, and Siam Commercial Bank
Siam Commercial Bank
Siam Commercial Bank is a bank from Thailand, based in Bangkok.- History :Established by Royal Charter in 1907, Siam Commercial Bank PCL was Thailand's first bank. At the time of its establishment, the only banks in the country were branch offices of foreign banks...

.

Political debut

Thaksin entered politics in late 1994 through Chamlong Srimuang
Chamlong Srimuang
Major General Chamlong Srimuang is a controversial Thai activist and former politician. A former general, he was a leader of the "Young Turks" military clique, founded and led the Phalang Dharma party, served for six years as governor of Bangkok, led the anti-military uprising of May 1992, and...

, who had just reclaimed the position of Palang Dharma Party (PDP) leader from Boonchu Rojanastien
Boonchu Rojanastien
Boonchu Rojanastien was a Thai-Chinese banker. Touted as Thailand's first "economics tsar", he served in the government of Kukrit Pramoj in 1975 and 1976...

. In a subsequent purge of Boonchu-affiliated PDP Cabinet ministers, Thaksin was appointed Foreign Minister in December 1994, replacing Prasong Soonsiri
Prasong Soonsiri
Prasong Soonsiri is a Thai politician, and former Royal Thai Air Force squadron leader, Thai Foreign Minister, and head of the Thai National Security Council. Prasong has been a long-time critic of Thaksin Shinawatra since Thaksin's entry into politics in 1994...

. Twelve years later, after Thaksin was removed from power, Chamlong Srimuang
Chamlong Srimuang
Major General Chamlong Srimuang is a controversial Thai activist and former politician. A former general, he was a leader of the "Young Turks" military clique, founded and led the Phalang Dharma party, served for six years as governor of Bangkok, led the anti-military uprising of May 1992, and...

 expressed regret at getting "such a corrupt person" into politics. The PDP soon withdrew from the government over the Sor Por Kor 4-01 land reform corruption scandal, causing the government of Chuan Leekpai
Chuan Leekpai
Chuan Leekpai was the Prime Minister of Thailand from September 20, 1992 to May 19, 1995 and again from November 9, 1997 to February 9, 2001. A third-generation Thai Chinese, Chuan was born in Trang province in a grass-roofed house. The walls of his family's house were woven from strips of...

 to collapse.

PDP leader and Deputy Prime Minister under Banharn

Chamlong, strongly criticized for mishandling internal PDP politics in the last days of the Chuan-government, retired from politics and hand-picked Thaksin as new PDP leader. Thaksin ran for election for the first time for the constitutional tribunal and lost.

Thaksin joined the government of Banharn Silpa-Archa
Banharn Silpa-Archa
Banharn Silpa-archa was the 21st Prime Minister of Thailand, 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...

 and was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Bangkok traffic. In May 1996, he and four other PDP ministers quit the Banharn Cabinet (while retaining their MP seats), prompting a Cabinet reshuffle. Many have claimed that Thaksin's move was designed to help give Chamlong Srimuang a boost in the June 1996 Bangkok Governor elections, which Chamlong returned from retirement to contest. But Chamlong lost to Bhichit Rattakul, an independent.

Chamlong's failure to buttress the PDP's failing power base in Bangkok amplified divisions in the PDP, particularly between Chamlong's "temple" faction and Thaksin's. Soon afterwards, Chamlong announced he was retiring again from politics.

Thaksin and the PDP pulled out of the Banharn-government in August 1996. In a subsequent no-confidence debate, the PDP gave evidence against the Banharn government, and in September 1996 Banharn dissolved Parliament.

Thaksin announced he would not run in the subsequent November 1996 elections but would remain as leader of the PDP. It suffered a fatal defeat in the elections, winning only one seat, and soon imploded, with most members resigning.

Deputy Prime Minister under Chavalit

On 15 August 1997, Thaksin became Deputy Prime Minister in Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh is a Thai politician and retired general. He was Thailand's 22nd Prime Minister from 1996 to 1997. He is of Sino-Thai and ethnic Lao descent....

's government, after the Thai baht was floated and devalued on 2 July 1997, sparking the Asian Financial Crisis. He held the position for only three months, leaving on 14 November when Chavalit resigned.

During a censure debate on 27 September 1997, Democrat Suthep Thaugsuban
Suthep Thaugsuban
Suthep Thaugsuban is a Thai politician, and Member of Parliament for Surat Thani province...

 accused Thaksin of profiting from insider information about the government's decision to float the baht, but the next Democrat party-led government did not investigate the accusations.

During this period, Thaksin also served on the Asia Advisory Board of the Washington, D.C. based Carlyle Group
Carlyle Group
The Carlyle Group is an American-based global asset management firm, specializing in private equity, based in Washington, D.C. The Carlyle Group operates in four business areas: corporate private equity, real assets, market strategies and fund-of-funds, through its AlpInvest subsidiary...

 until he resigned upon becoming Prime Minister in 2001.

The Thai Rak Thai Party and the 2001 elections

Thaksin founded the 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...

 ("Thais Love Thais" – TRT) party in 1998 along with Somkid Jatusripitak
Somkid Jatusripitak
Somkid Jatusripitak , Chinese: 曾汉光, Thai politician, is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand. He was a leader and cofounder of the populist Thai Rak Thai party. His wife, Anurachanee Jatusripitak, teaches at Chulalongkorn University...

, PDP ally Sudarat Keyuraphan
Sudarat Keyuraphan
Sudarat Keyuraphan is a Thai politician and the deputy leader of the Thai Rak Thai party. She served as the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand in the Thai Rak Thai government until its ousting in the September 2006 coup.Born in Bangkok, Sudarat is a graduate of Chulalongkorn...

, Purachai Piumsomboon, and 19 others.

With a populist platform often attributed to Somkid
Somkid Jatusripitak
Somkid Jatusripitak , Chinese: 曾汉光, Thai politician, is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand. He was a leader and cofounder of the populist Thai Rak Thai party. His wife, Anurachanee Jatusripitak, teaches at Chulalongkorn University...

, TRT promised universal access to healthcare, a 3-year debt moratorium for farmers, and 1 million THB locally managed development funds for all Thai villages.

After Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai
Chuan Leekpai
Chuan Leekpai was the Prime Minister of Thailand from September 20, 1992 to May 19, 1995 and again from November 9, 1997 to February 9, 2001. A third-generation Thai Chinese, Chuan was born in Trang province in a grass-roofed house. The walls of his family's house were woven from strips of...

 dissolved parliament in November 2000, TRT won a sweeping victory in the January 2001 elections
Thailand legislative election, 2001
General elections were held in Thailand on January 6, 2001. 500 seats in the House of Representatives were at stake...

, the first held under the Constitution of 1997. At the time, some academics called it the most open, corruption-free election in Thai history. Thai Rak Thai won 248 parliamentary seats (more than any other party previously) and needed only 3 more seats to form a government. Nonetheless, Thaksin opted for a broad coalition to gain total control and avoid a vote of no confidence, with the 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...

 (41 seats) and the New Aspiration Party (36 seats), while absorbing the smaller Seritham Party (14 seats).

Prime Minister of Thailand

Thaksin Shinawatra was the first prime minister of Thailand to complete a full term in office, and his rule is generally agreed to have been one of the most distinctive in the country's modern history. He initiated many eye-catching policies that distinguished him from his predecessors. They affected the economy, public health, education, energy, social order, drug suppression and international relations. He gained two re-election victories.

Thaksin's most effective policies were reducing rural poverty and the introduction of universal healthcare, allowing him to galvanise the vast and largely untapped support base of the rural poor, especially in the populous northeast.

His Cabinet consisted of a broad coalition of academics, former student leaders, and former leaders of the Phalang Dharma party, including Prommin Lertsuridej
Prommin Lertsuridej
Prommin Lertsuridej, M.D. was a Thai politician, former student leader, former Secretary General to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, former Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs, and former Minister of Energy in the Thaksin government...

, Chaturon Chaisang, Prapat Panyachatraksa
Prapat Panyachatraksa
Prapat Panyachatraksa was a student demonstrator during the violent 1973 democracy movement during which he confronted an M-60 armed soldier armed with just a piece of wood, for which he was popularly nicknamed "Ai Karn Yao"...

, Surapong Suebwonglee, Somkid Jatusripitak
Somkid Jatusripitak
Somkid Jatusripitak , Chinese: 曾汉光, Thai politician, is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand. He was a leader and cofounder of the populist Thai Rak Thai party. His wife, Anurachanee Jatusripitak, teaches at Chulalongkorn University...

, Surakiart Sathirathai
Surakiart Sathirathai
Surakiart Sathirathai was, until September 19 2006, a Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand overseeing Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture.-Family and early career:...

, and Sudarat Keyuraphan
Sudarat Keyuraphan
Sudarat Keyuraphan is a Thai politician and the deputy leader of the Thai Rak Thai party. She served as the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand in the Thai Rak Thai government until its ousting in the September 2006 coup.Born in Bangkok, Sudarat is a graduate of Chulalongkorn...

. Traditional regional power brokers also flocked to his government.

However, his government was increasingly accused of dictatorship, demagogy
Demagogy
Demagogy or demagoguery is a strategy for gaining political power by appealing to the prejudices, emotions, fears, vanities and expectations of the public—typically via impassioned rhetoric and propaganda, and often using nationalist, populist or religious themes...

, corruption, conflicts of interest, human rights offences, acting undiplomatically, using legal loopholes and displaying hostility towards a free press
Censorship in Thailand
Freedom of speech in Thailand was guaranteed in the articles 39, 40, 41 in the 1997 Constitution.According to those articles, censorship may be imposed to preserve national security, maintain public order, preserve the rights of others, protect public morals, and prevent criticism of the royal...

. A highly controversial leader, he has also been the target of numerous allegations of lèse majesté
Lèse majesté
Lese-majesty is the crime of violating majesty, an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state.This behavior was first classified as a criminal offence against the dignity of the Roman republic in Ancient Rome...

, treason, usurping religious and royal authority, selling assets to international investors, and religious desecration.

Economic Policies

Thaksin's government designed its policies to appeal to the rural majority, initiating programs like village-managed microcredit
Microcredit
Microcredit is the extension of very small loans to those in poverty designed to spur entrepreneurship. These individuals lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history and therefore cannot meet even the most minimal qualifications to gain access to traditional credit...

 development funds, low-interest agricultural loans, direct injections of cash into village development funds (the SML scheme), infrastructure development, and the One Tambon One Product
One Tambon One Product
One Tambon One Product is a local entrepreneurship stimulus program designed by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during the 2001-2006 Thai Rak Thai government. The program aims to support the unique locally made and marketed products of each Thai tambon...

 (OTOP) rural small and medium enterprise development program.

Thaksin's economic policies, helped Thailand recover from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and substantially reduce poverty. GDP grew from 4.9 trillion baht in 2001 to 7.1 trillion baht in 2006. Thailand repaid its debts to the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 two years ahead of schedule.

Income in the Northeast, the poorest part of the country, rose by 46% from 2001 to 2006. Nationwide poverty fell from 21.3% to 11.3%. Thailand's Gini coefficient
Gini coefficient
The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper "Variability and Mutability" ....

, a measure of income inequality, fell from .525 in 2000 to .499 in 2004 (it had risen from 1996 to 2000) ). The Stock Exchange of Thailand
Stock Exchange of Thailand
The Stock Exchange of Thailand is the national stock exchange of Thailand. It is located in Bangkok. As of 31 December 2007, the Stock Exchange of Thailand had 541 listed companies with a combined market capitalization of $280 billion. The indices of the stock exchange are SET Index, SET50 Index...

 outperformed other markets in the region. After facing fiscal deficits in 2001 and 2002, Thaksin balanced the national budget
Balanced budget
A balanced budget is when there is neither a budget deficit or a budget surplus – when revenues equal expenditure – particularly by a government. More generally, it refers to when there is no deficit, but possibly a surplus...

, producing comfortable fiscal surpluses for 2003 to 2005. Despite a massive program of infrastructure investments, a balanced budget
Balanced budget
A balanced budget is when there is neither a budget deficit or a budget surplus – when revenues equal expenditure – particularly by a government. More generally, it refers to when there is no deficit, but possibly a surplus...

 was projected for 2007. Public sector debt fell from 57 per cent of GDP in January 2001 to 41 per cent in September 2006. Foreign exchange reserves doubled from US$30 billion in 2001 to US$64 billion in 2006.

Critics say Thaksinomics
Thaksinomics
Thaksinomics is a term used to refer to the economic set of policies of Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand from 2001-2006. There has been considerable controversy over the role Thaksinomics has played in Thailand's recovery from the 1997 Asian financial crisis...

 is little more than a Keynesian-style economic stimulus policy re-branded. Others claimed that the policies got the rural poor "hooked on Thaksin's hand-outs."

Thaksin helped legalize Thailand's massive underground lottery system numbers game
Numbers game
Numbers game, also known as a numbers racket, policy racket or Italian lottery, is an illegal lottery played mostly in poor neighborhoods in the United States, wherein a bettor attempts to pick three digits to match those that will be randomly drawn the following day...

 (Thai: หวย) to run by the Government Lottery Office. Lottery sales of approx. 70 billion THB (2 billion USD) were used for social projects, including the "One District, One Scholarship" program. The Thaksin government also privatized MCOT, a large television and radio broadcaster.

After the 2006 coup, many of Thaksin's economic policies were ended, the OTOP program was rebranded, the Government Lottery Office's program was deemed illegal, and the government nationalized several media outlets and energy companies. However, economists from Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) published a report indicating that many of the populist policies had not boosted the economy and some were by coincidence.

Healthcare policies

Thaksin initiated two key healthcare policies: subsidized universal health care and low-cost universal access to anti-retroviral HIV medication (ARVs). Thaksin's 30-baht/visit universal healthcare program won the applause of the general public, but was criticized by many doctors and officials. Prior to the program's introduction, a large portion of the population had no health insurance and only limited access to healthcare. The program helped increase access to healthcare from 76% of the population to 96%. The program also increased workloads for health care employees, and caused many doctors to change to higher paying careers. It has also been criticized for being underfunded by the government. The program caused some hospitals to seek alternative sources of income, leading to a boom in medical tourism
Medical tourism
Medical tourism is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of travelling across international borders to obtain health care...

, with 1.3 million foreign patients earning Thailand 33 billion THB (approx. 800 million USD) in 2005.

Post-coup public health minister Mongkol Na Songkhla called the 30-baht program a "marketing gimmick" and claimed that the government would "very soon" stop charging patients any fees for visits to state hospitals. Many people who received the treatment claimed that they prefer drugs from pharmacists than from facilities covered by the scheme and almost half of the patients were dissatisfied with the service given by the facilities. The universal health care scheme raised a debt of 7.7 billion baht.

During the Thaksin government, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS as well as the overall prevalence
Prevalence
In epidemiology, the prevalence of a health-related state in a statistical population is defined as the total number of cases of the risk factor in the population at a given time, or the total number of cases in the population, divided by the number of individuals in the population...

 rate noticeably declined. Although successful in expanding access to HIV medication, there have been concerns that a free trade agreement with the US could endanger Thailand's ability to produce generic HIV treatments. Thaksin allowed the estimated 2.3 million migrant workers in Thailand to register and seek health coverage under the Thai national healthcare system. They were also eligible for work permits at the end of the registration period, entitling them to full labor protection. Democrat Party
Democrat Party (Thailand)
The Democrat Party is Thailand's oldest political party and was the main coalition government party of the 23rd House of Representatives of Thailand. The Democrat Party's current leader is Abhisit Vejjajiva, incumbent opposition leader and former Prime Minister. The party upholds a conservative...

 Labour Group Committee Pongsak Plengsaeng criticized the move, claiming that it would lead to unemployment amongst Thais.

The 'War on Drugs'

Thaksin initiated several highly controversial policies to counter a perceived boom in the Thai drug market, particularly in methamphetamine
Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine is a psychostimulant of the phenethylamine and amphetamine class of psychoactive drugs...

. Earlier policies like border blocking (most methamphetamine is produced in Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

), education, sports, and promoting peer pressure had proved ineffective. In a 4 December 2002 speech on the eve of his birthday, King Bhumibol noted the rise in drug use and called for a "War on Drugs." Privy Councillor Phichit Kunlawanit called on the government to use its majority in parliament to establish a special court to deal with drug dealers, stating that “if we execute 60,000 the land will rise and our descendants will escape bad karma”.

On 14 January 2003, Thaksin launched a campaign to rid "every square inch of the country" of drugs in three months. It consisted of changing the punishment policy for drug addicts, setting provincial arrest and seizure targets including "blacklists", awarding government officials for achieving targets and threatening punishment for those who failed to make the quota, targeting dealers, and "ruthless" implementation. In the first three months, Human Rights Watch reports that 2,275 people were killed, almost double the number normally killed in drug-related violence. The government claimed that only around 50 of the deaths were at the hands of the police, the rest being drug traffickers who were being silenced by their dealers and their dealers' dealers. Human rights critics claimed a large number were extrajudicially executed. The government went out of its way to publicize the campaign, through daily announcements of arrest, seizure, and death statistics.

According to the Narcotics Control Board, the policy was effective in reducing drug consumption, especially in schools, by increasing the market price.

King Bhumibol, in a 2003 birthday speech, praised Thaksin and criticized those who counted only dead drug dealers while ignoring deaths caused by drugs.
Bhumibol also ask the commander of the police to investigate the killings. Police Commander Sant Sarutanond reopened investigations into the deaths, and again claimed that few of the deaths were at the hands of the police.

The war on drugs was widely criticized by the international community. Thaksin requested that the UN Commission on Human Rights send a special envoy to evaluate the situation, but said in an interview, "The United Nations is not my father. I am not worried about any UN visit to Thailand on this issue."

After the 2006 coup, the military junta appointed a committee to investigate the anti-drug campaign. Former Attorney General Kanit Na Nakorn led the committee. Concerning the committee's results The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

reported in January 2008: "Over half of those killed in 2003 had no links to the drugs trade. The panel blamed the violence on a government 'shoot-to-kill' policy based on flawed blacklists. But far from leading to the prosecutions of those involved, its findings have been buried. The outgoing interim prime minister, Surayud Chulanont, took office vowing to right Mr Thaksin's wrongs. Yet this week he said there was insufficient evidence to take legal action over the killings. It is easy to see why the tide has turned. Sunai Phasuk, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, a lobbying group, says that the panel's original report named the politicians who egged on the gunmen. But after the PPP won last month's elections, those names were omitted."

While he was opposition leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva accused Thaksin of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the campaign. After being appointed Prime Minister, Abhisit opened an investigation into the killings, claiming that a successful probe could lead to prosecution by the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

. Former attorney-general Kampee Kaewcharoen led the investigation and the investigation committee was approved by Abhisit's Cabinet. Abhisit denied that the probe was politically motivated. Witnesses and victims were urged to report to the Department of Special Investigation, which operated directly under Abhisit's control. As of the August 2011 parliamentary elections, Abhisit's investigation failed to find or publicize any evidence linking Thaksin or members of his Government to any extrajudicial killings.

Education policies

One of Thaksin's educational reforms was school decentralization, as mandated by the 1997 Constitution. It was to delegate school management from the over-centralized and bureaucratized Ministry of Education to Tambon Administrative Organizations (TAOs) but met with massive widespread opposition from Thailand's 700,000 teachers, who would be deprived of their status as civil servants. Teachers fear that TAOs lacked the ability to manage schools. In the face of massive teacher protests and several threats of school closure, Thaksin compromised and gave teachers whose schools were transferred to TAO management two years to transfer to other schools.

Others included learning reform and related curricular decentralization, mostly through greater use of holistic education and less use of rote learning.

To increase access to universities for lower income people, Thaksin initiated the Student Loan Fund (SLF) and Income Contingency Loan (ICL) programs. The ICL however required recipients to start repayments when their salaries reached 16,000 baht a month, with interest equivalent to inflation from the day the loan was granted. The SLF had an eligibility limit on family income but interest was 1 per cent starting a year after graduation. The programs were merged and the income limit modified after Thaksin's government was overthrown.

Thaksin also initiated the controversial "One District, One Dream School" project, aimed at developing the quality of schools to ensure that every district had at least one high-quality school. It was criticized, with claims that the only beneficiaries were Thaksin and companies selling computers and educational equipment. Many schools fell deeply into debt in implementing the project, receiving inadequate financial support from the central government.

In addition, he altered the state university entrance system, which had relied exclusively on a nationally standardized exams. Thaksin pushed for greater weighting of senior high-school grades in the hope of focusing students on classroom learning rather than private entrance exam tutoring.

He initiated the Income Contingency Loan program to increase access to higher education, whereby needy students could secure a loan to support their studies from vocational to university levels. Thai banks had traditionally not given education loans. He made Thailand one of the first supporters of Nicholas Negroponte
Nicholas Negroponte
Nicholas Negroponte is an American architect best known as the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, and also known as the founder of the One Laptop per Child Association ....

's One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, with the Thai Ministry of Education committing to purchase 600,000 units. The junta later cancelled the project.

Energy policies

In energy policy, the Thaksin government continued the Chuan Leekpai
Chuan Leekpai
Chuan Leekpai was the Prime Minister of Thailand from September 20, 1992 to May 19, 1995 and again from November 9, 1997 to February 9, 2001. A third-generation Thai Chinese, Chuan was born in Trang province in a grass-roofed house. The walls of his family's house were woven from strips of...

 government's privatization agenda, but with important changes. Whereas the Chuan government's post-Asian financial crisis policies sought economic efficiency through industry fragmentation and wholesale power pool
Electricity market
In economic terms, electricity is a commodity capable of being bought, sold and traded. An electricity market is a system for effecting purchases, through bids to buy; sales, through offers to sell; and short-term trades, generally in the form of financial or obligation swaps. Bids and offers use...

 competition, Thaksin's policies aimed to create national champions that could reliably support stronger economic growth and become important players in regional energy markets. Thaksin also initiated a policy to encourage renewable energy and energy conservation. Many Thaksin-era energy policies were reversed following the 2006 coup.

South Thailand insurgency

A resurgence in violence began in 2001 in the three southernmost provinces of Thailand with their Muslim, ethnic Malay majority. There is much controversy about the causes of this escalation. Attacks after 2001 concentrated on police, the military, and schools, but civilians (including Buddhist monks) are also regular targets. Thaksin was widely criticized for his management of the situation.

Of three key controversial incidents, the first was the Army's storming of the Krue Se Mosque
Krue Sae Mosque
Krue Sae Mosque or Krue Se Mosque , is located in Pattani Province, Thailand. It was begun in about 1583, but was never completed because of a power struggle between the sultan of Pattani and his brother...

, where protesters had holed up and were killed.

The second, in October 2004, was the killing of 84 Muslim demonstrators at Tak Bai
Tak Bai
Tak Bai is a border town on Malaysia-Thailand Border, the capital of Tak Bai district, Narathiwat province. Visitors can visit Malaysia by Pengkalan Kubur pass, Kelantan state....

, when the Army broke up a peaceful protest. Hundreds of detainees were forced at gunpoint to lie shackled and prone in Army trucks, stacked like cordwood. The trucks were delayed from moving to the detainment area for hours. The 84 victims were reported to have been asphyxiated, crushed or died of overheating. The precise nature and cause of death have been subject to controversy and doubt because of lack of transparency and absence of depth in investigations made. There are other reports of many more deaths but these have not been substantiated.

In a third incident, Muslim lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit
Somchai Neelapaijit
Somchai Neelapaijit , a Thai Muslim-lawyer and human rights activist, disappeared on March 12, 2004 during Thaksin Shinawatra's regime. Strongly suspected to be deceased, he is still the subject of an investigation launched in 2004...

 disappeared, allegedly abducted and killed by police for his role in defending alleged insurgents who claimed to have been tortured. Despite witness testimony and forensic evidence during the court of police investigations and court trials, all allegations against police said to be involved were dropped and the enforced disappearance case closed.

Thaksin announced an escalation of military and police activity in the region. In July 2005, Thaksin enacted an Emergency Decree to manage the three troubled provinces. Several human rights organizations expressed their concerns that the decree might be used to violate civil liberties.

In March 2005, Thaksin established the National Reconciliation Commission, chaired by former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun
Anand Panyarachun
Anand Panyarachun was Thailand's Prime Minister twice, between 1991–1992 and once again in 1992. He was effective in initiating economic and political reforms, one of which was the drafting of Thailand's "Peoples' Constitution", which was promulgated in 1997 and abrogated in 2006...

 to oversee efforts to bring peace to the troubled South. In its final report in June 2006, the commission proposed introducing elements of Islamic law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 and making Pattani-Malay (Yawi) an official language in the region along with Thai. The Thaksin administration assigned a government committee to study the report, but nothing came of it.

Thaksin blamed Malaysia's jungle that has occasionally been used to train Islamic militants to cause violence in the south and Indonesia for being an inspiration to the militants.

Administrative reform

One of the most visible of Thaksin's administrative reforms was the restructuring of government department and ministries, labeled the "big bang." It was hailed as a "historic breakthrough" and "the first major reorganization of ministries since King Chulalongkorn set up Thailand's modern system of departmental government in 1897." Plans had been studied for years to loosen perceived rigidities and inertia of the old system but were not implemented until the Thaksin government.

The restructuring was designed to streamline the bureaucracy and focus it on performance and results. New ministries were carved out in Social and Human Security Development, Tourism and Sports, Natural Resources and Environment, Information and Communication Technology, and Culture.

Thaksin transformed the role of provincial governors to that of active policy managers. Historically, central government ministries operated in the provinces through field offices headed by senior officials who reported back to Bangkok, while the Interior Ministry appointed provincial governors whose role was largely ceremonial.

A key component of Thaksin's administrative reform policy, the "CEO-governors" epitomized what was called his "transformation of the operating style of the traditional bureaucracy into a more results-oriented instrument that would be responsive." Piloted in 2001 and introduced in all provinces in October 2003, CEO-governors were put in charge of planning and coordinating provincial development and became accountable for overall provincial affairs. The "CEO governors" were assisted by "provincial CFOs" from the Ministry of Finance who reported directly to each governor. Governors were authorized to raise funds by issuing bonds and were given an intensive training course. After the coup, the junta reverted the role of governors.

The Thaksin era also saw the opening of a number of government one-stop service centers to reduce red tape for anything from investment to utilities and ID-card processing.

Foreign policies

Thaksin initiated negotiations for several free trade agreements with China, Australia, Bahrain, India, and the US. The latter especially was criticized, with claims that high-cost Thai industries could be wiped out.

Thailand joined the US-led invasion of Iraq, sending a 423-strong humanitarian contingent. It withdrew its troops on 10 September 2004. Two Thai soldiers died in Iraq in an insurgent attack.

Thaksin announced that Thailand would forsake foreign aid, and work with donor countries to assist in the development of neighbors in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

Thaksin was repeatedly attacked for acting undiplomatically with foreign leaders and the international community. Besides his famous swipe at the UN (see The 'war on drugs' above), there were also allegations of gaffes at international meetings.

Thaksin was ambitious to position Thailand as a regional leader, initiating various development projects in poorer neighbouring countries like Laos. More controversially, he established close, friendly ties with the Burmese dictatorship, including extending the impoverished country a 4 billion baht credit line so it could conclude a satellite telecom deal with his family business.

Thaksin energetically supported his former foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai
Surakiart Sathirathai
Surakiart Sathirathai was, until September 19 2006, a Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand overseeing Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture.-Family and early career:...

's somewhat improbable campaign to become UN Secretary General.

Suvarnabhumi Airport

After more than 30 years of planning and debate, the Thaksin government completed the construction of the new Suvarnabhumi Airport. The airport was officially opened a week after Thaksin's government was overthrown. It is one of the world's largest airports.

However, some members of Thaksin's government were accused of corruption in the Suvarnabhumi Airport project
Corruption in the Suvarnabhumi Airport project
Allegations of corruption during the development of Suvarnabhumi Airport, the new international airport serving Bangkok, Thailand, have been made since the project's inception...

. Corruption allegations were used by the military junta to justify the 2006 coup. The junta initiated several investigations into the airport. nevertheless, investigative panels found that damage to the airport was "minute" and "common." The cost of repairing the damage was estimated at less than 1% of the total airport cost. The junta was accused of delaying airport repairs and intensifying the airport's problems to pin further blame on the Thaksin government.

'Policy corruption'

Thaksin was accused of "policy corruption", such as infrastructure and liberalization policies that, while legal and a potential benefit to society, also aided companies that were owned by his family members. Supannee Chai-amporn and Sirinthip Arun-rue of the National Institute of Development Administration claimed that policy corruption caused the state to spend nearly 30 per cent more than it otherwise should have spent, costing the state an additional 400 billion baht. Other examples cited were the Board of Investment granting tax breaks worth a total of Bt16.4 billion to Shin Satellite for its iPSTAR project in 2003, and the Transport Ministry's decision the same year to abolish the minimum air fare of Bt3.8 /km when Shin Corp was about to enter into a joint venture with low-cost carrier AirAsia
AirAsia
AirAsia Berhad is a Malaysian-based low-cost airline. AirAsia is Asia's largest low-fare, no-frills airline and a pioneer of low-cost travel in Asia. AirAsia group operates scheduled domestic and international flights to over 400 destinations spanning 25 countries. Its main hub is the Low-Cost...

 to open a Thai subsidiary.

After the 2006 coup, the military junta-appointed Assets Examination Committee froze Thaksin's assets based on charges of policy corruption.

Thaksin denied the allegations. "They just made up a beautiful term to use against me. There's no such thing in this government. Our policies only serve the interests of the majority of the people", he said. From 2002 to 2006, the stock price of Shin Corp increased from 38 to 104 baht (an increase of 173 per cent) while the stock price of Shin Satellite fell. In the same period, the Stock Exchange of Thailand index rose 161 per cent, and the price of other major SET blue chip companies increased vastly more. Industry deregulation caused the market share of AIS to fall from 68 per cent to 53 per cent.

Corruption

Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

 reported that Thailand's reputation for transparency among business executives improved during the years of the Thaksin government. In 2001, Thailand's Corruption Perceptions Index
Corruption Perceptions Index
Since 1995, Transparency International publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranking countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private...

 (CPI) was 3.2 (ranked 61), whereas in 2005, the CPI was 3.8 (ranked 59).
However, a study of Worldwide Governance Indicators
Worldwide Governance Indicators
Based on a long-standing research program of the World Bank, the Worldwide Governance Indicators capture six key dimensions of governance between 1996 and present...

 by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 gave a lower score on Control of Corruption during 2002–2005 to Thaksin's government compared to 1998–2000. It should be noted that Thaksin resisted efforts by the International Monetary Fund to control Thai government policies, in direct contravention of World Bank advices; accordingly, the World Bank may not be considered an objective observer of the Thaksin regime.

After the 2006 military coup, Thaksin was convicted of allowing a conflict of interest, by allowing his wife to purchase a piece of property from the Financial Institutions Development Fund. Other cases are pending.

There were complaints that Thaksin-appointed relatives to senior positions in the civil service and independent commissions, for example by elevating his cousin, General Chaiyasit Shinawatra
Chaiyasit Shinawatra
Chaiyasit Shinawatra is a former commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army. As a cousin of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, his unexpected appointment was criticised as an act of nepotism....

, to Army commander-in-chief. Chaiyasit was replaced after only one year due to his inability to control the southern Thai insurrection.

Former Thai ambassador to the UN Asda Jayanama
Asda Jayanama
Asda Jayanama is a former career diplomat of the Kingdom of Thailand. He is noted for his criticisms of the Myanmar military regime, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and Former Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai.- Family and Education :...

, in an anti-Thaksin rally, claimed that Thaksin's two state visits to India were made in order to negotiate a satellite deal for Shin Corporation
Shin Corporation
Shin Corporation is one of the largest conglomerates in Thailand.- History :It was founded in 1983 as Shinawatra Computer by Thaksin Shinawatra, former Prime Minister of Thailand, and took on its current name in 1999, by using the first four letters of his last name...

.

Other charges

Immediately after the events in March 2010, Abhisit Vejjajivas stated that he would talk to the red shirt leadership, but not to Thaksin. He criticised Thaksin's wealth and extravagance, carving a contrast between the alleged opulence of the premier's house and the humbler, agrarian roots of many of the demonstrators. Shortly after, he also directly condemned his opponent's self-proclaimed affinity with the ordinary people, the ‘phrai’, arguing that Thaksin was far closer to the ‘ammart’, or the traditional elites in Thailand's army, bureaucracy, and political parties.

Thaksin's government was accused of exerting political influence in its crackdown on unlicensed community radio stations, and Thaksin brought massive defamation suits against critical journalists.

Thaksin was also accused of interference when the Senate appointed Wisut Montriwat (former Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance) to the position of Auditor General, replacing Jaruvan Maintaka
Jaruvan Maintaka
Khun Ying Jaruvan Maintaka is the current Auditor-General of the Kingdom of Thailand. She refused to resign her position after the Constitutional Court of Thailand ruled that her nomination was illegal. She is well known for her public criticism of deposed Premier Thaksin Shinawatra...

.

Thaksin has been engaged in a series of lawsuits brought by American businessman William L. Monson
William L. Monson
William "Bill" L Monson is an American cable television businessman and the current President of Seattle-based Clearview International and Clearview Wireless and manager of Hawaii-based CTVC...

 regarding Thaksin's takeover of a cable-television joint venture the two partnered in during the 1980s.

2005 re-election

Under the slogans "Four Years of Repair Four years of Reconstruction" and "Building Opportunities", Thaksin and the TRT won landslide victories in February 2005 elections, sweeping 374 out of 500 seats in Parliament. The election had the highest voter turnout in Thai history. But his second term was soon beset by protests, with claims that he presided over a "parliamentary dictatorship."

Accusations by Sondhi Limthongkul

The political crisis was catalyzed by several accusations published by media mogul and popular talk show host Sondhi Limthongkul
Sondhi Limthongkul
Sondhi Limthongkul is a Thai media mogul and leader of the right-wing People's Alliance for Democracy . He was elected for leader of the New Politics Party ....

, a former Thaksin supporter who had broken with him. These included accusations that Thaksin:
  • Restricted press freedom by suing Sondhi after he printed a sermon by a controversial monk (see Luang Ta Maha Bua incident)
  • Masterminded the desecration of the famous Erawan
    Erawan Shrine
    The Erawan Shrine is a Hindu shrine in Bangkok, Thailand that houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu creation god Brahma. A popular tourist attraction, it often features performances by resident Thai dance troupes, who are hired by worshippers in return for seeing...

     shrine (see Phra Phrom Erawan Shrine incident)

Sale of Shin Corporation

On 23 January 2006, the Shinawatra family sold their entire stake in Shin Corporation
Shin Corporation
Shin Corporation is one of the largest conglomerates in Thailand.- History :It was founded in 1983 as Shinawatra Computer by Thaksin Shinawatra, former Prime Minister of Thailand, and took on its current name in 1999, by using the first four letters of his last name...

 to Temasek Holdings
Temasek Holdings
Temasek Holdings is an investment company owned by the government of Singapore. With an international staff of 380 people, it manages a portfolio of about S$193 billion at end of March 2011, focused primarily in Asia...

. The Shinawatra and Damapong families netted about 73 billion baht (about US$1.88 billion) tax-free from the sale, using a regulation that made individuals who sell shares on the stock exchange
Stock Exchange of Thailand
The Stock Exchange of Thailand is the national stock exchange of Thailand. It is located in Bangkok. As of 31 December 2007, the Stock Exchange of Thailand had 541 listed companies with a combined market capitalization of $280 billion. The indices of the stock exchange are SET Index, SET50 Index...

 exempt from capital gains tax
Capital gains tax
A capital gains tax is a tax charged on capital gains, the profit realized on the sale of a non-inventory asset that was purchased at a lower price. The most common capital gains are realized from the sale of stocks, bonds, precious metals and property...

. The deal made Thaksin the target of accusations of corruption and selling an asset of national importance to a foreign entity.

Anti-Thaksin rallies

Thaksin faced pressure to resign following the Shin Corp. sale.

Protests, led by the People's Alliance for Democracy
People's Alliance for Democracy
The People's Alliance for Democracy also called the National Liberation Alliance - กลุ่มพันธมิตรกู้ชาติ, Thai Patriots Network or the Yellow Shirts - เสื้อเหลือง - was originally a coalition of protesters against Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister of Thailand. Its leaders include...

 (PAD) whose leaders included Chamlong and Sondhi, soon swelled to tens of thousands who occupied the area around Government House in Bangkok. They consisted of both working-class and middle-class Bangkokians and included prominent social figures, academics and students.

House dissolution and election

Thaksin announced a House dissolution
Dissolution of parliament
In parliamentary systems, a dissolution of parliament is the dispersal of a legislature at the call of an election.Usually there is a maximum length of a legislature, and a dissolution must happen before the maximum time...

 on 24 February 2006. General elections were scheduled for 2 April.

Thaksin was attacked for calling the snap elections, which in effect prevented any member of parliament from changing parties. In an editorial, The Nation noted it "fails to take into consideration a major fallacy of the concept [of democracy], particularly in a less-developed democracy like ours, in which the impoverished, poorly informed masses are easily manipulated by people of his ilk. And Thaksin's manipulation has been well documented."

Election results and by-elections

Thaksin's TRT Party won the widely boycotted elections, gaining 462 seats in Parliament, with the ratio of voters to no-voters 16:10, not counting non-voters.

However, by-elections were needed for 40 TRT candidates who failed to win the minimum 20% required by the 1997 Constitution in an uncontested seat. The Democrat Party refused to contest them and, along with the PAD
People's Alliance for Democracy
The People's Alliance for Democracy also called the National Liberation Alliance - กลุ่มพันธมิตรกู้ชาติ, Thai Patriots Network or the Yellow Shirts - เสื้อเหลือง - was originally a coalition of protesters against Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister of Thailand. Its leaders include...

, petitioned the Central Administrative Court to cancel them. Chamlong Srimuang declared that the PAD would ignore the elections and "go on rallying until Thaksin resigns and Thailand gets a royally appointed prime minister".

They were held on 25 April and resulted in the TRT winning 25 of the constituencies and losing 2. Yet another round of by-elections on 29 April was scheduled for 13 constituencies. The Thai Rak Thai Party was later accused and found guilty of paying smaller parties to contest the election to fulfill the 20% rule, while the Democrat Party was accused of paying smaller parties not to. The by-elections were suspended by the Constitution Court while it deliberated whether to annul the main elections. In press interviews in exile, Thaksin was to insist on his technical majority.

Invalidation of the elections

On 8 May 2006, 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...

 ruled 8–6 to invalidate the April elections based on the awkward positioning of voting booths. The ruling was called a landmark case in "judicial activism." The Democrat Party, which had boycotted the April elections, said they were now ready to contest an October election.

A new election was ordered and later set for 15 October
Thailand legislative election, October 2006
After Thailand's April 2006 elections were declared invalid by the Constitutional Court, it was decided that new elections would be held on 15 October 2006...

. The Court found the Election Commissioners guilty of malfeasance and jailed them. But the election was cancelled when the military seized power on 19 September
2006 Thailand coup d'état
The 2006 Thai coup d'état took place on Tuesday 19 September 2006, when the Royal Thai Army staged a coup d'état against the elected caretaker government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra...

.

Break from politics

Thaksin announced on 4 April 2006 that he would not accept the post of Prime Minister after Parliament reconvened, but would continue as Caretaker Prime Minister until then.

He then delegated his functions to Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Chidchai Wannasathit, moved out of Government House, and went on vacation.

September 2006 coup

In the evening of 19 September 2006, while Thaksin was visiting New York City, US, to attend a United Nations summit and speak at the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

, the army took control of Bangkok. At Government House, some 50 soldiers ordered approximately 220 policemen in the complex to lay down their weapons. Troops also surrounded the Thaicom
Thaicom
Thaicom is the name of a series of communications satellites operated out of Thailand and the name of Thaicom Public Company Limited, which is the company that owns and operates the THAICOM satellite fleet and other telecommunication businesses in Thailand and throughout the...

 satellite receiving station and state-run television station Channel 11. By the morning of 20 September, tanks and military vehicles armed with machine guns were stationed at Government House, the Royal Plaza and government units along Rajdamnoen Avenue.

Troops participating in the coup were from the 1st and 3rd Army Regions, the Internal Security Operations Command
Internal Security Operations Command
The Internal Security Operations Command is a unit of the Thai military devoted to national security issues. It was responsible for suppression of leftist groups during the 1970s and 1980s during which it was implicated in numerous atrocities against activists and civilians. The modern ISOC was...

, the Special Warfare Centre and Army units in Nakhon Ratchasima and Prachin Buri provinces and sections of the Navy. According to coup leader Army Commander General Sonthi Boonyaratglin
Sonthi Boonyaratglin
General Sonthi Boonyaratglin is former Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army and former head of the Council for National Security, the military junta that ruled the kingdom. He is the first Muslim in charge of the mostly Buddhist army...

, the coup leaders had arrested Deputy Prime Minister Chitchai Wannasathit
Chitchai Wannasathit
Chitchai Wannasathit was the caretaker prime minister of Thailand from April to May 2006, when Thaksin Shinawatra took a break from his duties as prime minister following a disappointing showing in elections. Thaksin returned to his duties after more than a month...

 and Defense Minister Thammarak Isaragura na Ayuthaya
Thammarak Isaragura na Ayuthaya
Thammarak Isarangkura na Ayuthaya is a former Thai military officer, Member of Parliament, co-founder of the Thai Rak Thai Party, and former defence minister...

.

The military, originally calling itself the Council for Democratic Reform under the Constitutional Monarch (CDRM), issued a statement citing the government's alleged lèse majesté
Lèse majesté
Lese-majesty is the crime of violating majesty, an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state.This behavior was first classified as a criminal offence against the dignity of the Roman republic in Ancient Rome...

, corruption, interference with state agencies, and creation of social divisions as reasons for the coup. It declared the king of Thailand the head of state, and said elections would be held soon to return democracy to the country. Thaksin later arrived in Britain, where he had family.

Thai Rak Thai party

Many 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...

 party members were reported to have resigned from the party in the aftermath of the coup for fear that the party would be dissolved by the junta and its members banned from politics. These included Somsak Thepsuthin and 100 members of the Wang Nam Yen faction. It was not clear whether Suriya Jungrungreangkit
Suriya Jungrungreangkit
Suriya Jungrungreangkit is a Thai politician of the Thai Rak Thai party. Since 2002 he is the Minister of Transport of Thailand...

, another influential member of the faction, would also resign. Sonthaya Kunplome was reported to have led 20 members of the Chonburi faction in resigning from the party.

On 2 October 2006 Thaksin and his former deputy Somkid Jatusipitak resigned from the TRT. Chaturon Chaisang took over as party head.

The TRT was finally dissolved on 30 May 2007 by the Constitutional Tribunal, which banned over 100 of its executives, including Thaksin, from politics for five years, based on charges that two party executives (Defense Minister Thammarak and Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn) bribed a smaller party to stand in the April 2006 election. The Democrat party was cleared on a similar charge.

2006 Bangkok New Year's Eve bombings

On 31 December 2006 and 1 January 2007, several bombs exploded in Bangkok, killing and wounding a number of bystanders. General Surayud accused "those who lost power as a result of the military takeover" of masterminding the bombings, but did not directly identify Thaksin. Thaksin went on CNN to publicly deny any involvement in the bombings. The government did not make any arrests in the case.

Legal charges

Thaksin's diplomatic passport was revoked on 31 December 2006 after the junta accused him of engaging in political activities while in exile. Thai embassies were ordered not to facilitate his travels.

A junta-appointed Assets Examination Committee froze Thaksin's assets and attempted to bring charges against him. The AEC was criticized for being stacked with anti-Thaksin appointees. At one point, AEC Secretary Kaewsan Atibodhi claimed that "evidence and witnesses are useless", when an AEC panel recommended legal action without hearing 300 witnesses or considering 100 additional pieces of evidence. The AEC froze Thaksin's assets

In January 2007, Financial Institutions Development Fund complied with an Assets Examination Committee request to file a charge against Thaksin and his wife over their purchase of four 772 million baht plots of land from the FIDF in 2003. The charge was based on alleged violation of Article 100 of the National Counter Corruption Act, which prohibits government officials and their spouses from entering into or having interests in contracts made with state agencies under their authority.

The Assets Examination Committee also accused Thaksin of issuing an unlawful cabinet resolution approving the spending of state funds to buy rubber saplings.

In March 2007, the Office of the Attorney-General charged Thaksin's wife and brother-in-law with conspiring to evade taxes of 546 million baht (US$15.6 million) in a 1997 transfer of Shin Corp shares.

The Assets Examination Committee found Thaksin guilty of malfeasance for obstructing competition by imposing an excise tax on telecom operators. Thaksin's Cabinet had approved the relevant executive decree in 2003.

Purchase of Manchester City Football Club

Already as prime minister, Thaksin had unsuccessfully sought to buy the English Premier League football clubs Fulham
Fulham F.C.
Fulham Football Club is a professional English Premier League club based in southwest London Fulham, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Founded in 1879, they play in the Premier League, their 11th current season...

 and later Liverpool
Liverpool F.C.
Liverpool Football Club is an English Premier League football club based in Liverpool, Merseyside. Liverpool has won eighteen League titles, second most in English football, seven FA Cups and a record seven League Cups...

, in what critics claimed was a publicity stunt in response to his political problems.

On 21 June 2007, now out of office, he bought Premier League club Manchester City
Manchester City F.C.
Manchester City Football Club is an English Premier League football club based in Manchester. Founded in 1880 as St. Mark's , they became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887 and Manchester City in 1894...

 for £81.6 million. He became briefly popular with fans, especially after appointing Sven-Göran Eriksson
Sven-Göran Eriksson
Sven-Göran Eriksson , in Sweden commonly referred to just by his nickname Svennis, is a Swedish ex-football manager. From October 2010 to October 2011 he managed Football League Championship side Leicester City....

 manager of the club and bringing in prominent players. Eriksson was later critical of Thaksin's running of the club, saying "he [Thaksin] didn't understand football – he hadn't a clue." He sold the club to investors from Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited in September 2008 for a reported £200 million.

After selling Manchester City football club, Thaksin was nominated as "honorary president" but does not have any administrative responsibilities. However, he was later dismissed from ­honorary club president after the club has decided to take a position against him following his conviction and his currently "on the run" from Thai Authorities.

Convictions and exile

In May 2007, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont
Surayud Chulanont
General Surayud Chulanont is a Thai political figure. He was the Prime Minister of Thailand and head of Thailand's Interim Government between 2006 and 2008...

 said Thaksin was free to return to Thailand, and he would personally guarantee Thaksin's safety. In January 2008 Thaksin's wife Potjaman was arrested on arrival in Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

 but released on bail after appearing at the Supreme Court, with orders not to leave the country. She was set to be tried for alleged violation of stock
Stock
The capital stock of a business entity represents the original capital paid into or invested in the business by its founders. It serves as a security for the creditors of a business since it cannot be withdrawn to the detriment of the creditors...

-trading and land sale laws.

On 28 February 2008, Thaksin arrived in Bangkok after 17 months in exile. Thaksin again stated he would not re-enter politics and wished to focus on his football interests. In March Thaksin pleaded not guilty before the Supreme Court in one of his two criminal corruption cases. He was ordered to report back on 11 April after the court granted a month long trip to England.

In June the Supreme Court denied Thaksin's request to travel to China and Britain, since his corruption case was set for trial and was ordered to surrender his passport after arraignment. In July the Court assumed jurisdiction over the fourth corruption charge against Thaksin concerning the soft loans to Burma. The court also agreed to hear allegations that Thaksin, his former cabinet, and three members of the current government, broke anti-gambling laws by setting up the new state lottery in 2003.

Potjaman
Potjaman Shinawatra
Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra , formerly Potjaman Shinawatra and born as Soypetpotjaman Damapong , , is the ex-wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Potjaman played a key role in the development of Thaksin's commercial enterprises in the 1980s...

 was found guilty on 31 July and sentenced to three years imprisonment, but released on bail. The Bangkok Criminal Court also convicted her adopted brother Bhanapot Damapong and her secretary, who allegedly held assets for Thaksin by proxy, of tax evasion.

Request for asylum in the United Kingdom

On 10 August 2008, Thaksin and Potjaman violated the bail term by attending the 2008 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony
2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony
The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest. It began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time on August 8, 2008, as 8 is considered to be a lucky number. The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture...

 in Beijing. Stating that he wishes to return to Thailand but claimed it was not currently safe for him and his family. Thaksin wishes to seek political asylum in the United Kingdom, claiming his political enemies were interfering with the judiciary.

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions issued a second arrest warrant on 16 September 2008 against Thaksin over another of the four pending corruption cases and ordered suspension of the trial. Several more arrest warrants were issued over subsequent no-shows at various corruption trials.

Ratchadaphisek land verdict

On 21 October 2008, the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ruled that Thaksin, while prime minister, abused his power to help his wife buy public land at auction, and sentenced him to two years in jail.

Soon after, Thaksin told Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

, "I have been informed of the result. I had long anticipated that it would turn out this way", and added that the case was politically motivated.

Chief prosecutor Seksan Bangsombun called on Britain to extradite
Extradition
Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties...

 him. Thaksin now denied he was seeking political asylum in Britain.

Self-imposed exile

On 10 November 2008, a Philippine spokesman said his government would "politely" turn down any request for political refuge from Thaksin due to Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

's "friendly" relations with Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...



The British Government Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

, meanwhile, revoked Potjaman and Thaksin's visas
Visa (document)
A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport...

 due to their convictions, while the Bangkok British Embassy e-mailed airlines directing them to disallow either of them to board flights to Britain. In late 2008, Arabian Business
Arabian Business
Arabian Business is the Middle East's best selling weekly business magazine. The magazine focuses on the English and Arabic speaking communities and is published in both languages.-Arabian Business:Arabian Business is audited by BPA Worldwide...

reported after an exclusive interview that the UK froze $4.2 billion of his assets in the UK. However, the UK government has not confirmed or denied this claim.

Thaksin had reportedly considered sanctuaries such as China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, the Bahamas, Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, and several other countries in South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. Reports said the Shinawatras were granted Bahamas honorary citizenship and Nicaragua honorary citizenship and were building a £5.5 million home in China. As of late May 2009, he reportedly remained in Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

. A spokesman claimed Thaksin was traveling on six passports, none of them Thai. In December 2008 Thaksin obtained a residency permit for Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 which was subsequently withdrawn on 28 May 2009 when the German government became aware of the arrangement. Thaksin then obtained status as a diplomat of Nicaragua. Guido Westerwelle
Guido Westerwelle
Guido Westerwelle [] is a German liberal politician, who, since 28 October 2009, has been serving as the Foreign Minister in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel, and who was Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2009 to 2011. He is the first openly gay person to hold either of those positions...

, German foreign minister
Foreign minister
A Minister of Foreign Affairs, or foreign minister, is a cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign state. The foreign minister is often regarded as the most senior ministerial position below that of the head of government . It is often granted to the deputy prime minister in...

, has lifted the travel restriction banning Thaksin from entering Germany on 15 July 2011 after election victory of Thaksin's proxy party.

In a November 2009 interview, Thaksin told The Times that he was living in Dubai, still had access to about $100 million of his money outside of Thailand, and was investing in gold mines, diamond polishing and lottery licenses in various countries.

Songkran unrest

In mid-April 2009, violent protests of mostly Thaksin-supporters calling themselves the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship
National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship
The United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship , whose supporters are commonly called "Red Shirts", is a political pressure group opposed to the People's Alliance for Democracy , the 2006 Thai military coup, and supporters of the coup. Notable UDD leaders include Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut...

 (UDD) led to the cancellation of the ASEAN summit in Pattaya and declaration of a state of emergency in Bangkok. Thaksin had been giving enthusiastic encouragement at UDD rallies via satellite and phone-in link, at one point calling for a "people's revolution", following the suppression of the protests he claimed to have merely been offering "moral support."

Thaksin supported protests by the UDD
National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship
The United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship , whose supporters are commonly called "Red Shirts", is a political pressure group opposed to the People's Alliance for Democracy , the 2006 Thai military coup, and supporters of the coup. Notable UDD leaders include Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut...

 against the Abhisit Vejjajiva government, demanding Thaksin be allowed to return free from all the earlier corruption charges. Thaksin denied leading the UDD, claiming he only gave them "moral support."

Money laundering allegations

In April 2009, Privy Councilor General Pichitr Kullavanijaya reported he had been informed by former US ambassador to Thailand Ralph L. Boyce
Ralph L. Boyce
Ralph Leo "Skip" Boyce is a United States diplomat and career foreign service officer with the State Department.Boyce was born February 1, 1952, in Washington, D.C. He obtained a B.A. from George Washington University in 1974 and an M.P.A. from Princeton University in 1976...

 that Thaksin had laundered 100 billion baht (US$2.8 billion) through Cayman Island bank accounts to organize the anti-government protests.

Economic advisor to Cambodia

On 4 November 2009, it was announced that Thaksin Shinawatra had been appointed a special advisor to the Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

n government and Hun Sen
Hun Sen
Hun Sen is the current Prime Minister of Cambodia.He has been the sole leader of the Cambodian People's Party , which has governed Cambodia since the Vietnamese-backed overthrow of the Khmer Rouge in 1979...

 and stated that Cambodia would refuse to extradite Thaksin because it considered him a victim of political persecution, despite his criminal conviction of corruption charges in Thailand..

On 5 November 2009, both countries recalled their ambassadors.

Thai Prime Minister 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...

 stated this was "the first diplomatic retaliation measure". Stating Cambodia was interfering in Thailand's internal affairs and as a result all bi-lateral co-operation agreements would be reviewed. Sok An
Sok An
Sok An is a Cambodian politician. He belongs to the Cambodian People's Party and was elected to represent Takeo Province in the National Assembly of Cambodia in 2003.Sok An is Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia...

, a member of the Council of Ministers
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 and Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, said Thaksin's appointment is a decision internal to Cambodia and "conforms to international practice". The mutual withdrawal of ambassadors is the most severe diplomatic action to have occurred between the two countries.

"Spy" controversy

On 11 November 2009, Sivarak Chutipong was arrested by Cambodian police for passing the confidential flight plans of Thaksin and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to Kamrob Palawatwichai, First Secretary of the Royal Thai Embassy in Cambodia. Sivarak was a Thai engineer working in Cambodia for Cambodia Air Traffic Service, the private firm which manages air traffic control
Air traffic control
Air traffic control is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other...

 in Cambodia. Sivarak denied that he was a spy, and the Thai government claimed that he was innocent and that the incident was a Thaksin/Cambodian plot to further damage relations between the two countries. The Thai First Secretary was expelled from Cambodia. Sivarak demanded that former First Secretary Kamrob speak out and restore his damaged reputation by confirming he was not involved in a spy ring. Kamrob refused to provide comment to the press throughout the controversy, and Kasit's secretary, Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, insisted that although that there was no misconduct on the part of the First Secretary or Sivarak, there would be no statement from Kamrob. Sivarak's mother appeared often on Thai television, pleading for the government to assist her son.

Sivarak was later sentenced to jail for 7 years. Thaksin personally requested the Cambodian government to pardon Sivarak, and he was soon pardoned by King Norodom Sihamoni
Norodom Sihamoni
Norodom Sihamoni is the current reigning King of Cambodia. He is the eldest son of Norodom Sihanouk and Norodom Monineath Sihanouk. Previously Cambodia's ambassador to UNESCO, he was named by a nine-member throne council to become the next king after his father Norodom Sihanouk abdicated in 2004...

 and expatriated. Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban later accused Sivarak of staging his own arrest in order to discredit the Abhisit government. Former Thai spy chief and Foreign Minister Prasong Soonsiri
Prasong Soonsiri
Prasong Soonsiri is a Thai politician, and former Royal Thai Air Force squadron leader, Thai Foreign Minister, and head of the Thai National Security Council. Prasong has been a long-time critic of Thaksin Shinawatra since Thaksin's entry into politics in 1994...

 concurred, claiming, "It has been a set-up from the beginning."

Prior to the verdict

On 26 February 2010, the Supreme Court was scheduled to render its verdict on whether to seize his family's Thai assets, worth 76 billion baht frozen by the AEC after the coup. The AEC froze the assets under the authority of Announcement No. 30 of the military junta. Tensions ran high through Thailand, tens of thousands of government security forces were deployed, particularly in routes leading to Bangkok. However, the UDD denied that it would rally on the date of the verdict. The nine Supreme Court judges had to make a judgment on accusations of abnormal wealth through policy corruption. Policy corruption, was defined by the court as the abuse of powers by implementing economic policies that, while in themselves legal and of potential benefit to society and the economy, also aided companies that were owned in part by the policy maker. The prosecution claimed that Thaksin abused his powers five times while Premier.

The verdict

The court first ruled that Thaksin and Potjaman were the real owners of the assets, rather than his children and relatives. The court also ruled that it had the authority to seize assets, based on the announcements of the junta. The court found Thaksin guilty of four out of five policy corruption, and ordered that 46 billion baht be seized. The remaining 30 billion continued to remain frozen.
  • Count 1: Conversion of telecom concession fees into excise charges. Previously, telecom operators had to pay the TOT/CAT a percentage of their revenue as a concession fee (TOT/CAT are state-owned enterprises, although they were going through the process of privatization). The Thaksin government modified this into a system wherein all operators would instead directly pay the government an equivalent excise tax. The imposition of excise tax here would eventually be passed on to consumers. Thaksin claimed that all operators continued to pay the same total costs. The judges ruled that this benefited AIS while harming the TOT, and thus was an abuse of power.
  • Count 2: Modification of a revenue sharing agreement on pre-paid mobile services. Previously, telecom operators had to pay the TOT a percentage of their revenues for post-paid mobile services. To offer pre-paid services, which are generally cost less to the consumer, AIS negotiated with TOT to design a revenue sharing agreement for pre-paid services that offered less revenue to the TOT comprising an estimated loss of 14.2 billion baht (revenue reduced from 25% to 20%) from 2001–06 and another estimated loss of 56 billion baht (revenue reduced from 30% to 20%) from 2006–15. The judges ruled that the terms of the pre-paid agreement harmed TOT while benefiting AIS. The judges did not dispute the fact that TOT's total revenue actually increased substantially as a result of the agreement, but noted that the rise in pre-paid revenue came about while harming TOT's post-paid revenue. The massive growth in Thai mobile penetration from 13% in 2001 to 80% in 2007, due almost completely to pre-paid services, and the reduction in AIS market share from 68% to 53% in the same period were not taken into account by the court.
  • Count 3: Modification of mobile roaming agreement. Previously, there were no roaming agreements between mobile operators – subscribers from one operator were not allowed to use services on another operator's network, thus limiting the growth of the mobile industry. Under the Thaksin government, roaming was allowed, with roaming fees deducted from the revenue that AIS and other operators had to share with TOT and other state enterprises. Essentially, TOT helped AIS shoulder the costs of its subscribers roaming on the mobile networks of other operators. This reduced TOT and CAT's income while benefiting the operators. However, the judges ruled that it while benefited AIS, it did so to the benefit of AIS's new owners (Temasek Holdings) rather than Thaksin, and hence was not an abuse of power.
  • Count 4: Replacement of ThaiCom 4
    Thaicom 4
    Thaicom 4, also known as IPSTAR, is a broadband satellite built by Space Systems/Loral for Thaicom Public Company Limited and was the heaviest commercial satellite launched as of August 2005. It was launched on August 11, 2005 from the European Space Agency's spaceport in French Guiana on board...

     with iPSTAR. A previous government had originally contracted with ShinSat to launch and operate ThaiCom 4 as a backup satellite for ThaiCom 3. Instead, ShinSat negotiated with the Thaksin government to launch iPSTAR, at the time the largest commercial satellite in history, which it claimed could offer commercial internet services while also providing backup for ThaiCom 3. However, the claim is not technically possible since iPSTAR does not have C-band transponders as ThaiCom 3. Shin Corp's ownership in ShinSat was subsequently reduced from 51% to 40%. The judges found that the changes in ownership and satellite specification change reduced Thailand's communications security by not having the backup satellite for ThaiCom 3 on the one-to-one basis. It also noted that the negotiations allowed ShinSat to launch a satellite with much greater commercial potential than ThaiCom 4 without having to bid for a separate concession agreement.
  • Count 5: EXIM Bank loan to Myanmar to pay for ThaiCom services. Thaksin was scheduled to meet with Burmese leaders to negotiate trade deals between the two countries. One of the deals negotiated gave Myanmar a Thai EXIM Bank loan to purchase 376 million baht in satellite services from ShinSat. Thaksin noted that many deals were struck in the negotiations, and that 16 other companies also benefited from the EXIM Bank's loans. The judges ruled that the loans gave preferential treatment to Thaksin, and hence were an abuse of power.


The judges decided to seize 46 billion differences in value of Shin Corp. shares from the date when he came to office and the value when the shares were sold to Singapore's Temasek Holdings in early 2006. Note that, Thaksin had declared around 500 million baht in assets and Pojaman had 8 billion to 9 billion baht while Thaksin served as prime minister. Nevertheless, during that period, Shin shares gained 121%, compared with a 128% gain in the benchmark SET index, while Siam Cement
Siam Cement
The Siam Cement Public Company Limited or SCG is the largest cement company in Thailand. It is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. In 2011, it was also ranked as the 2nd largest company in Thailand and the 620th largest company in the world by Forbes 2000.It was founded under the Royal...

, one of Thailand's premier blue chip companies, gained 717%. The judges did not find that Thaksin was guilty of malfeasance. They also noted that any benefit to the government from Thaksin's policies was irrelevant to the ruling. The government reaped approximately 100 billion baht in increased revenue from changes in the concession agreements alone.

Aftermath

In an email to his supporters, Thaksin claimed that the court was used as a tool. He also noted how the Thai stock market rose to the benefit of many companies, not just his, and claimed that all charges against him were politically-motivated. He thanked his supporters for not protesting while the verdict was being read, and implored them to use non-violent means in the future. Pojaman na Pombejra insisted that tens of billions of baht of her wealth had been given to her children and relatives well before Thaksin took office in 2001 and denied that her children and relatives were nominees of her and her husband. She also denied having any control over Ample Rich and Win Mark, two firms that the AEC had accused of being her nominees. In spite of Pojaman's claim, Thaksin was the authorized signature for Ample Rich through 2005, making him the only individual authorized to withdraw funds from the company's account until he transferred the authority to his children, four years after he took office in 2001.
Some UDD members held a small protest in front of the court, but did not disrupt the ruling as the government had predicted they would. The UDD leaders announced that a large-scale protest is scheduled to be held on 14 March 2010.

On the evening of 27 February (Saturday of a 3-day holiday), M67 grenades were thrown from a motorcycle outside three branches of Bangkok Bank
Bangkok Bank
Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited , is a Thai commercial bank, with approximately US$64.6 billion in total assets. Its branch network includes over 1000 branches within Thailand, with 25 international branches or representative offices in 13 economies, spanning ASEAN and major economic countries,...

. Nobody was hurt or injured in the attacks. The perpetrators were not caught, and no organization claimed responsibility for the attacks. Thaksin and the UDD were quick to deny any involvement. An arrest warrant was issued based on sketches of a motorcycle driver.

Concealing of Shin Corp. Shares

Thaksin was pressed charged on wealth concealment while in office.
Prior to the wealth declaration of Thaksin and his family when he took office, there has been an appeal to the The National Anti-Corruption Commission that there are some suspicious about the numbers in the report.

Transferring to maid and driver

Thaksin was accused of concealing shares by transferring Shin Corp.
Shin Corporation
Shin Corporation is one of the largest conglomerates in Thailand.- History :It was founded in 1983 as Shinawatra Computer by Thaksin Shinawatra, former Prime Minister of Thailand, and took on its current name in 1999, by using the first four letters of his last name...

 shares to his drivers and maids. Thaksin tearfully told the Constitutional Court that it was an honest mistake before the Court acquitted him from the charges.

Transferring shares to children who reached maturity

There has been a controversy on whether there is any hidden interest when Thaksin and Potjaman transferred their Shin Corp. shares to their children. Panthongtae
Panthongtae Shinawatra
Panthongtae Shinawatra , nickname Oak, is the only son of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.He became a billionaire after having been given a large portion of his father's stock in Shin Corporation which transferred to him shortly before Thaksin ascended to the position of prime...

 and Pinthongta Shinawatra was accused of being nominees to their parent.

The transfer of shares from Thaksin and Potjaman to Parnthongtae was said to have been a setup and that there is not any transfer of money. For Panthongtae's case, the shares have been sold to him at cost price. Thaksin said that there has been a written agreement proving the transfer of shares to his son. Prior to the transfer of shares, Panthongtae had written an agreement to settle a ฿4.5billion baht debt for buying 300 million shares of Thai Military Bank
TMB Bank
TMB Bank, formally known as The Thai Military Bank, is one of the largest retail banks in Thailand. It is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand on ....

 (TMB). However, the real value of TMB share at that time was ฿1.5billion baht. This means that there has been a "fake debt" worth of ฿3billion baht. The Assets Examination Committee (AEC) later revealed that Panthongtae's account that receives Shin Corp. dividend has been transferring money to Potjaman's account exceeds the debt to ฿1.1billion baht.

Pintongtha was accused of being another nominee of her parents. In response to the accusation, she said that the money her mother gave her was her birthday present. The money that Pintongtha received from Potjaman was used to buy 367 million shares of Shin Corp. which leaves Panthongtae 367 million shares. AEC reveals that the account has been receiving dividend from Shin Corp. There has not been any transaction between Pintongtha's account and Potjaman's account. However, the money was used to buy SC Asset shares from WinMark worth of ฿71 million baht and buy shares from another 5 real-estate firms from 2 funds in 2004 worth of ฿485 million baht.

DSI, AEC, and Securities and Exchange Commission later revealed common information that WinMark and the two funds are owned by Thaksin and Potjaman Shinawatra.

P

Royal decorations

Thaksin 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:
  • 1974 – Member (Fifth Class) of The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand
  • 1976 – Companion (Fourth Class) of The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand
  • 1980 – Companion (Fourth 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:...

  • 1985 – Commander (Third Class) of The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand
  • 1994 – Knight Grand Cross (First 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:...

  • 1995 – Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand
  • 1996 – 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:...

  • 2001 – 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....

  • 2002 – Knight Grand Commander (Second Class, higher 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...


Foreign royal decorations

Thaksin has received the following royal decorations in the honours System of Brunei Darussalam:
  • 2002 – Darjah Setia Negara Brunei Yang Amat Bahagia – Darjah Pertama, The Most Blessed Order Of Setia Negara Brunei (Order of Loyalty to Brunei), First Class بروني دارالسلام of Hassanal Bolkiah
    Hassanal Bolkiah
    General Haji Sir Hassan al-Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah GCB GCMG is the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the 29th Sultan of Brunei and the first Prime Minister of Brunei Darussalam...

     Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam

See also

  • List of Prime Ministers of Thailand
  • Thailand political crisis 2005-2006
    Thailand political crisis 2005-2006
    In 2005 and 2006, a series of events occurred in Thailand as a result of an unrest with Thaksin Shinawatra that was supported by Sondhi Limthongkul and his coalitions...

  • Thaksinomics
    Thaksinomics
    Thaksinomics is a term used to refer to the economic set of policies of Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand from 2001-2006. There has been considerable controversy over the role Thaksinomics has played in Thailand's recovery from the 1997 Asian financial crisis...

  • Sondhi Limthongkul
    Sondhi Limthongkul
    Sondhi Limthongkul is a Thai media mogul and leader of the right-wing People's Alliance for Democracy . He was elected for leader of the New Politics Party ....

  • People's Alliance for Democracy
    People's Alliance for Democracy
    The People's Alliance for Democracy also called the National Liberation Alliance - กลุ่มพันธมิตรกู้ชาติ, Thai Patriots Network or the Yellow Shirts - เสื้อเหลือง - was originally a coalition of protesters against Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister of Thailand. Its leaders include...

  • Constitution of Thailand
    Constitution of Thailand
    The Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand is the supreme law of Thailand. Since the change from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy in 1932, Thailand has had 17 charters and constitutions, reflecting the high degree of political instability and frequency of military coups faced...


External links

  • Profile: Thaksin Shinawatra at BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

  • Thaksin Shinawatra Interview 2008Arabian Business
    Arabian Business
    Arabian Business is the Middle East's best selling weekly business magazine. The magazine focuses on the English and Arabic speaking communities and is published in both languages.-Arabian Business:Arabian Business is audited by BPA Worldwide...

  • Thaksin interview with Radio France Internationale/France 24 TV in English
  • Thaksin Shinawatra collected news and commentary at Asian Correspondent
    Asian Correspondent
    Asian Correspondent was launched in October 2009 by Hybrid News Limited with the stated purpose of creating a hybrid news model that combined professional journalists, successful bloggers and wire news in one website...

  • Thaksin Shinawatra collected news and commentary at Breaking Legal News
  • High tension in Thailand – a chronology of events in the political crisis of 2005–2006
    Thailand political crisis 2005-2006
    In 2005 and 2006, a series of events occurred in Thailand as a result of an unrest with Thaksin Shinawatra that was supported by Sondhi Limthongkul and his coalitions...

  • NewMandala, up-to-date commentary on Thaksin and the coup.

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