Thaksin Shinawatra

Thaksin Shinawatra ทักษิณ ชินวัตร, IPA:
[tʰáksǐn tɕʰinnawát]; born
July 26, 1949 in Chiang Mai, Thailand), Thai businessman and politician, is the
deposed Prime Minister of Thailand and the former leader of the populist Thai
Rak Thai party. He is married to Potjaman Shinawatra, and has one son, and two
Thaksin started his career in the Thai Police, and later became a successful
entrepreneur, establishing Shin Corporation and Advanced Info Service, the
largest mobile phone operator in Thailand. He became one of the richest people
in Thailand. Thaksin entered politics by joining the Phalang Dharma Party in
1994, and later founded the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party in 1998. After a landslide
election victory in 2001, he became Prime Minister of Thailand.
Thaksin's distinctive economic, public health, education, energy, drug,
politics, and international relations policies made him the first elected Prime
Minister in Thai history to complete his term in office, and helped him win a
landslide re-election in 2005. Thaksin's policies were particularly effective at
alleviating rural poverty (poverty fell by half in 5 years) and at increasing
access to affordable health care. His main support base has been the rural poor.
Under his government, Thailand's standing on major indices of corruption
improved substantially.
However, his government has been frequently challenged with allegations of
corruption, dictatorship, demagogy, treason, conflicts of interest, human rights
offenses, acting undiplomatically, the use of legal loopholes and hostility
towards a free press. A controversial leader, he has also been the target of
allegations of , selling national assets to international investors, and
religious desecration. He has been subject to several alleged assassination
19 September 2006,
a military junta overthrew his government in a bloodless coup. The junta warned
him against returning to Thailand. His diplomatic passport was revoked after the
junta accused him of engaging in political activities while in exile. Thai
embassies were ordered not to facilitate his travels, and all mention of him on
Thai television has been censored.