Thailand. The January election gave a grand victory to
the newly formed party Thai straight Thai (Thais love
Thais). By merging with the Liberal Democratic Party
Seritham, Thai got straight Thai's own majority with 262 of
the parliament's 500 seats. Two smaller parties, New Hope
and the Nation of Thai, also took office in the government.
Countryaah, New Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, one of Thailand's
richest men, was brought before the Constitutional Court in
June after being indicted for false declaration in late
2000. He did not deny that large amounts had been
overwritten on his driver and housekeeper but claimed that
it had been done by mistake and without his knowledge. After
prompt treatment, the Prime Minister was acquitted. The
verdict aroused mixed emotions as Thailand's determination
to deal with the corruption can be called into question.
A report from the World Bank in November showed that
poverty is rising again in Thailand after the economic crash
in 1997. About 16% of the population has only 200 SEK a
month to live on, compared to 11% in 1996.
For a few months, a tense relationship between Thailand
and Burma prevailed after fighting in the border area. The
battles were linked to separatist conflicts and opium trade
on the Burmese side. However, after a visit by Shinawatra in
Burma and Burmese junta general Khin Nyunt in Thailand, the
conflict was considered annex.
In the southern part of Thailand, the Muslim separatist
movement has the backing of fundamentalist leader Nik
Abdulaziz Nikmat who is governor of Kelantan in Malaysia and
in opposition to the Malaysian central government led by
Mehathir Mohamed. During 93, a series of violent episodes of
religious background took place in Thailand.
To strengthen its regional leadership position, Chuan
established closer ties with China and Indonesia, and in
October, the Thai government officially cut off the
assistance it had given the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia since
1979. At the end of the year, there was close contact
between Thailand and Brazil with regard to. extradition of
Brazilian financier and grand fraud Paulo CÚsar Farias, who
was detained in Bangkok in November.
In January 94, the government approved a reform to
liberalize banking. The reform opened, among other things.
foreign banks could open branches in different cities around
the country. In July, a joint oil exploration company
consisting of Shell and Total renounced 7 concessions after
spending $ 22 million on exploration with no result. The
concession area as obtained in 91 covered an area of
20,000 km 2 in the northeastern part of the
country. Throughout the process, the foreign concessionaires
had found only one gas deposit, which was nonetheless not
1994 was financially characterized by stability and
growth, but in the political sphere the situation became
increasingly tense. Parliament was disbanded and on July 2,
95 elections were held in advance. It was won by the Thai
Nation's Party with 25% of the vote against the Democrats
22%. The leader of the winning party, Banham Silapa-archa
formed a new government supported by several of the smaller
parties. A constitutional reform proposal triggered a
lengthy debate in parliament. The proposal involved a
reduction in the size and power of the Senate and a
reduction in the voting age to 18 years. However, no final
decision could be made due to accusations between the
parties and Parliament's general lack of stability in 95.
The Silapa archa government was sharply criticized in the
press when it emerged that a number of ministers had been
under investigation following the coup in 91. the past to ╗.
Inflation in 95 was 6.5%, which Danmarks Nationalbank
characterized as "manageable". With annual population growth
of 1.5% and GDP growth of 8.3%, Thailand in 96 remained on
the list of economic miracles.
In November 96, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was appointed new
Prime Minister with 125 out of the 393 members of the House
of Representatives behind him. Leekpai's party had to settle
for 123 seats. Yongchaiyudh eventually got a government
coalition that, in addition to his own party, consisted of
Chart Pattana with 52 seats, the Social Action Party with
20, Prachakorn Thai with 18 and a few smaller parties.