2 DECADES OF THAI POLITICS | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 25, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:27 AM, March 25, 2019

2 DECADES OF THAI POLITICS

Violent demonstrations, multiple coups and a cryptic election eve message from the king. Thailand's unpredictable political history has few rivals. Here is a brief look at two turbulent decades in Thai politics.

'LOST DECADE'

2001: Policeman-turned-billionaire telecoms magnate Thaksin Shinawatra wins at the polls promising social welfare schemes.

2003: A brutal war on drugs kills upwards of 2,500 people. A year later a crackdown in the Muslim-majority Deep South sparks a renewed insurgency.

2005: Thaksin repeats electoral triumph, heading up the first civilian administration to complete a four-year term in a history rattled by army takeovers.

2006: While at the UN in New York, Thaksin is toppled in bloodless coup. A period of protests and violent clashes ensues and historians dub the prolonged instability the "Lost Decade".

 

YELLOW AND RED

2008: Thaksin is convicted in absentia on corruption charges he says are politically motivated and flees into self-exile. Anti-Thaksin protesters known as "Yellow Shirts" storm Bangkok's airports, shutting them down for over a week to protest a Thaksin ally as premier -- who is soon removed. Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva becomes prime minister after a parliamentary vote.

2009: Pro-Thaksin "Red Shirts" storm a regional summit hosted by Thailand demanding elections and forcing participants to flee by helicopter and boat.

2010: More than 90 people are killed as the army -- led by current junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha -- opens fire on Red Shirts protesting in downtown Bangkok.

2011: Fresh elections in 2011 see Thaksin's younger sister Yingluck emerge as Thailand's first female prime minister.

2014: Anti-Yingluck demonstrators hold months-long protests that turn violent. A snap 2014 election is annulled and military seizes power.

 

JUNTA DELAYS, HOLDS VOTE

2016: Junta leader Prayut oversees a crackdown on dissent and wins a referendum to change the constitution.

2017: Yingluck flees the country to avoid negligence charges and joins brother in self-exile.

2018: Junta announces elections for next year after repeated delays.

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