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Thailand's turbulent political history

india Updated: Sep 20, 2006 13:51 IST

Thailand had a turbulent political history even before Tuesday's attempt to overthrow Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra with at least 10 successful coups and seven other abortive ones.

Here are some significant dates in Thailand's political history.

June 24, 1932: King Prajadhipok falls in a bloodless coup, and a Constitutional monarchy and parliament are introduced.

December 1938: Military leader Luang Phibun Songkram becomes prime minister.

June 9, 1946: King Rama VIII dies under mysterious circumstances, and his brother Bhumibol Adulyadej assumes the throne.

November 8, 1947: Another coup leads to Phibun's return to power, ushering in a new period of military rule that lasts until 1973.

October 14, 1973: Some 400,000 student-led protesters topple the military rulers, leading to a brief flowering of democracy.

October 6, 1976: A bloody crackdown on student protesters ends with the military returning to power.

March 1980: Moderate military ruler Prem Tinsulanond survives several coup attempts and opens politics to some popular participation.

July 1988: General Chatichai Choonhavan wins general elections, and the country enters a miraculous economic boom with double-digit growth.

February 1991: General Sunthorn Kongsompong stages a coup and topples Chatichai's civilian government. He sets up a junta, the so-called National Peace Keeping Council to govern.

May 1992: Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters fill the streets of Bangkok demanding a return to civilian rule.

Dozens are killed after junta member General Suchinda Kraprayoon assumed the prime minister's post without contesting the March 22 elections.

The king summons the generals and pro-democracy leaders to the palace, admonishes them and asks them to reconcile. The killings stop and Suchinda agrees to resign.

September 23, 1992: Democrats party leader Chuan Leekpai is voted prime minister, ending months of instability since the coup.

July 2, 1997: Thailand devalues the baht, triggering the Asian economic crisis.

October 11, 1997: The king signs the country's 16th "People's Constitution" into law, in a major development for political reform and democracy.

November 6, 1997: Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh resigns under economic and political pressure, and Chuan Leekpai again takes office on November 9.

March 4, 2000: The first Senate elections are held under the new Constitution. Widespread allegations of vote-buying mean it takes five rounds and four months to fill the 200 seats.

January 6, 2001: Telecom magnate ThaksinThaksin Shinawatra wins elections in a landslide to become the 23rd prime minister.

August 3, 2001: Thaksin is narrowly acquitted of concealing his assets. A conviction could have resulted in a five-year ban from politics.

January 4, 2004: A raid on an army depot revives an Islamic insurgency in the south.

December 26, 2004: The deadly Indian Ocean tsunami kills more than 5,300 people, about half of them foreign tourists.

January 5, 2005: Thaksin's government becomes the first elected civilian administration to complete a four-year term.

February 6, 2005: Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party is re-elected as the country's first one-party government since the end of the absolute monarchy.

February 24, 2006: Under increasing calls for him to quit over his tax-free sale of a stake in telecom giant Shin Corp for almost 1.9 billion dollars, Thaksin dissolves parliament and calls new elections.

April 2, 2006: Voters go to the polls, with a partial count later showing Thaksin winning a majority of ballots. But his apparent victory is undermined by a strong protest vote and a boycott by the main opposition parties.

April 4, 2006: Thaksin announces he will step down after a new parliament is convened, saying he made his decision out of respect for the king.

September 20, 2006: Thailand's armed forces say they have ousted Thaksin in a bloodless coup and imposed martial law.

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