Thai Political Timeline

6 Jan 2001 Thaksin Shinawatra and his Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party win general elections on a populist platform of economic growth and development. He wins control of 296 of 500 seats in the House of Representatives.
Jan 2004 Muslim radicals launch an insurgency in the southern provinces. Thaksin responds with a strong military response that fails to quell the rebellion and brings strong criticism from human rights groups.
6 Feb 2005 Thaksin wins general election with an even larger majority (374 seats) on the back his popularity in rural areas and high visibility in the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami.
Sep 2005 State-run television cancels a television news programme hosted by publisher Sondhi Limthongkul, saying the show that was often critical of Thaksin was irresponsible.
Nov 2005 Sondhi begins weekly rallies that draw thousands of people and accuses the government of corruption, abuse of power, censorship and mishandling the Muslim insurgency.
23 Jan 2006 Thaksins family sells its controlling stake in Shin Corp., the telecoms empire he founded, to a Singaporean firm for a tax-free US$1.9 billion. Critics allege the sale involved insider trading and that national assets were sold to a foreign government, increasing anti-Thaksin sentiment.
4 Feb 2006 Tens of thousands of protesters gather in Bangkok for the first major demonstration demanding Thaksin's resignation.
24 Feb 2006 Amidst growing protests Thaksin dissolves Parliament and calls snap elections for 2 April 2006.
13 Mar 2006 Protesters march on Government House, Thaksins office, and vow to stay camped out until he resigns.
2 Apr 2006 Elections are boycotted by the opposition. TRT party wins 57 percent of votes but unopposed TRT candidates for 38 seats fail to get the necessary quorum of 20% of eligible votes, preventing parliament from opening.
4 Apr 2006 After an audience with King Bhumibol and under increasing pressure, Thaksin announces that he would not accept the post of Prime Minister after the Parliament reconvenes but that he would continue to be Caretaker Prime Minister until his successor is elected by the Parliament.
Apr-May 2006 Thaksin takes a seven-week break from politics, but returns as caretaker Prime Minister and struggles to schedule a new election over increasing legal challenges.
8 May 2006 The Constitution Court invalidates the results of the April elections and calls for new elections.
30 May 2006 The Cabinet endorses an Election Commission proposal to hold a new round of elections on 15 October 2006.
24 Aug 2006 Thaksin accuses several army officers of plotting to kill him after police find a car containing bomb-making materials near his house.
19 Sep 2006 Military launches a coup detat while Thaksin is in New York at the UN General Assembly. Lead by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the coup leaders brand
themselves the Council for Democratic Reform (CDR), suspend the constitution, and dissolve the Cabinet, both houses of Parliament, and the Constitutional Court. Coup leaders later refer to themselves as the Council for National Security (CNS)
20 Sep 2006 CDR issue a statement explaining their reasons for taking power, alleging Thaksin caused divisiveness, corruption, nepotism interfered in independent agencies, and insulted the King. General Sonthi announces that King Bhumibol Adulyadej endorsed him as the head of the interim governing council and promises to restore democracy in a years time, implying elections scheduled for October 2006 are cancelled.
1 Oct 2006 Retired General Surayud Chulanont is appointed interim Prime Minister.
2 Oct 2006 Thaksin and most leading TRT figures resign from the party.
31 Dec 2006 Eight small bombs go off in Bangkok killing three people and injuring more than 38. No one claims responsibility. Coup leaders imply Thaksin is behind the bombs but a police investigation later alleges that southern insurgents were behind the attacks.
26 Jan 2007 Martial law is lifted in 41 of Thailands 76 provinces but remains in place in another 35 provinces.
29 Mar 2007 Preliminary date for general elections set for 16 or 23 December 2007.
30 May 2007 TRT is dissolved by the Constitutional Tribunal for violation of election laws, with 111 party members barred from participating in politics for five years.
6 July 2007 The Constitution Drafting Committee votes unanimously to pass the draft constitutional charter.
31 July 2007 Final draft of constitutional charter is published. Major changes to the previous constitution include: making almost half of Senators appointed rather than elected, limiting the Prime Minister to two four year terms, banning the Prime Minister from major holdings in private companies, and making it easier to impeach the Prime Minister.
19 Aug 2007 A referendum on the constitution is held, with 57% voting yes and 42% voting no, paving the way for elections later in the year. Turnout was around 60%. Pro-Thaksin areas generally rejected the constitution.
27 Aug 2007 Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont sets the election date as 23 December 2007.
11 Sep 2007 The Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC) resolves to charge Thaksin and his wife with concealing their shares in Shin Corp, in violation of the constitution and the National Counter Corruption Act.
11 Sep 2007 Pua Paendin (For the Motherland) Party is created, grouping together more than 200 veteran Thai politicians, including many former TRT members.
11 Sep 2007 Elections Commissioner Sodsri Satayatham accuses the Peoples Network for Elections in Thailand (P-NET) of misusing ECT funds. P-NET later shows that the ECT has not given any money to P-NET in the past five years. Sodsris refusal to apologise for her mistake leads to P-NET stopping cooperation with the ECT.
13 Oct 2007 Martial law removed in some areas but upheld in 27 provinces.
16 Oct 2007 The Cabinet approves a royal decree setting 23rd December as the date for the
general election.
24 Oct 2007 PPP leader Samak Sundaravej claims he has documents from the CNS showing that the Council had approved a plan to prevent the PPP from coming to power. The Prime Minster, General Sonthi, and the CNS all initially doubt the documents are genuine but later admit their existence.
25 Oct 2007 PPP seek guidance from the Elections Commission on whether former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra can act as its adviser.
16 Nov 2007 ECT rules that banned party executives cannot make campaign speeches, have their pictures depicted on campaign posters, or take part in public rallies.
6 Dec 2007 A poll shows that of the 80 party list seats, the PPP is projected to win 39, followed by the Democrat Party with 33, while other parties (Puea Pandin, Chart Thai, Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana and Pracharaj) are predicted to win a total of eight seats.
23 Dec 2007 National Election Held In the first post coup election, the People Power Party(Allied to Thaksin)wins a solid plurality of seats 233 out of 480 (199 from constituency system, 34 from the party list). The Democrat Party finishes second with 165 total seats(132 constituency, 33 party list)
29 January 2008 The PPP forms a coalition government with all minority parties except the democrats and Samak Sundaravej becomes Thailands 25th prime minister.
28 February 2008 Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra returns from his self imposed exile since PPP won elections and formed the new government. He and his wife face charges of corruption.
28 March 2008 After previously dissolving immediately after the coup, the PAD re-establishes itself and threatens to resume protests against Thaksin and his allies in government.
25 May 2008 The PAD begins street demonstrations at Democracy Monument, demanding Samak's resignation, and later settles at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge.
27 June 2008 Samak's government survives no-confidence motion in parliament.
July 2008 Thaksin Shinawatra's corruption trial begins. Thaksin's wife is found guilty of fraud and sentenced to three years in jail. She is granted bail pending an appeal.
July 2008 Cambodia and Thailand move troops to disputed land near ancient Preah Vihear temple after decision to list it as UN World Heritage Site fans nationalist emotions on both sides. Officials from both states start talks to resolve standoff.
11 August 2008 Thaksin and his (now ex) wife, Potjaman Na Pombejra, skipped a court appearance and fled to the UK two weeks after she was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud.
26 August-2 December 2008 PAD protesters invade Government House, three ministries and the headquarters of the National Broadcasting Service of Thailand. Public sector labor unions threaten to cut off water, electricity and telephone service to government offices and bring most public transport to a standstill. Seizure of
government house would last until 2 Dec 2011.
29 August 2008 Train and air transport are disrupted by PAD supporters seizing smaller regional airports and blocking major roads in several locations across the country. Services would resume a few days later and public sector labor unions would not follow up on their threat to disrupt services.
2 September 2008 Anti-PAD protesters clash with the PAD, leaving 1 PAD protester dead and 43 others injured. Vowing to not quit due to such threats, PM Samak declares a controversial state of emergency in Bangkok which lasts until 14 September.
9 September 2008 The Constitutional Court of Thailand finds Samak guilty of violating the conflict of interest law and terminates his premiership, thanks to complaints brought by Senators and the ECT. The court ordered him to resign after being found guilty of violating Article 267 of the constitution for accepting money for hosting a TV cooking show which the court saw as a form of private employment while holding office, a violation.
11 September 2008 Army Gen. Anupong Paochinda publicly backs the creation of a unity government that would include all the country's parties. He also asks that the caretaker government lift the state of emergency that Samak declared on September the 4th.
17 September 2008 Somchai Wongsawat, Thaksin's brother-in-law, is chosen to be PM by the National Assembly(298 for Somchai 163 for Abhisit) and becomes prime minister. He is rejected by the PAD for being Thaksin's nominee and street protests continue.
4-5 October 2008 PAD leaders Chaiwat Sinsuwongse and Chamlong Srimuang are arrested by police on insurrection, illegal assembly, and refusing orders to disperse charges that were filed on August 27th, shortly after the PADs invasion of Government House.
6 October 2008 PAD protesters rally at parliament, attempting to block a parliament session in which Prime Minister Somchai is to seek approval of policies. Police attempt to disperse protesters using tear gas. Somchai is forced to cross a fence to exit, while other members of parliament are stranded in the building for many hours. Intermittent clashes all day leave 2 dead and over 300 injured, including 20 policemen. Military troops are deployed to help control the situation.
8 October 2008 Queen Sirikit attended the cremation of one of the killed PAD protesters. The Queen was accompanied by her daughter Princess Chulabhorn, Army Chief Anupong Paochinda, and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
9 October 2008 An appeals court withdraws insurrection charges against PAD leaders and releases Chamlong and Chaiwat on bail. The following day, the remaining PAD leaders turn themselves in to police and are released on bail.
21 October 2008 The supreme court found the exiled Thaksin guilty in a land purchase conflict of interest case, and sentenced him to two years in prison.
8 November 2008 The Government of the UK, where Thaksin had been primarily residing, revoked the visas of Thaksin and his (then) wife, Potjaman Na Pombejra, while the couple were travelling in China.
25-26 November 2008 The PAD blockaded Don Mueang, the domestic airport where the government held its temporary offices, and Suvarnabhumi International Airport which left
thousands of tourists stranded and cut off virtually all of Thailand's international air connections. Several explosions and clashes occur in the following days.
26 November 2008 In a press conference, Army Commander General Anupong Paochinda proposed that the PAD withdraw from the airport and that the PPP coalition government resign.
27 November 2008 Government declares a state of emergency around the two occupied airports and orders police, with assistance from the military, to clear out PAD forces. Army spokesmen at the time refuses request while police clash with protesters over the next several days.
2-3 December 2008 On December 2nd, after weeks of opposition-led protests, theConstitutional Court of Thailand dissolved the governing People's Power Party and two coalition member parties and banned leaders of the parties, including Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, from politics for five years. The court found them guilty of vote buying during the 2007 election. PM Somchai promptly resigns. PPP calls the ruling a judicial coup.
3 December 2008 Airport protests were ended the day after ruling. PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul declares, We have won a victory and achieved our aims."
6 December 2008 Opposition Democrat Party led by Abhisit Vejjajiva announced it had secured a coalition within parliament to become Thailand's new prime minister after MPs defected from former PPP coalition.
7 December 2008 The dissolved PPP transforms into the Puea Thai Party as many (but not all) MPs switch over. Importantly, MPs in the Friends of Newin group formerly within the PPP joined the BhumJai Thai party, which caucused with the new Democrat party government coalition.
17 Dec. 2008 Abhisit Vejjajiva becomes the 27th PM of Thailand.
March & April 2009 The United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) begins street protests against PM Abhisit. Thaksin accuses Abhisit of gaining power thanks to a system of aristocratic polity that, led by privy council president Prem Tinsulanondas conspiring with the military, worked to bring the Democrats to power. The UDD, often referred to as the Red Shirts, is made up primarily of the rural and urban poor. During this time, they call for the resignation of Abhisit, dissolution of the parliament, and an immediate election.
2009 11-12 April The UDD protest group stormed the Fourth East Asia Summit in Pattaya, forcing its cancellation. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declares a state of emergency in Bangkok and five neighbouring provinces.
14 April 2009 UDD/Red Shirt protests broken up by military. The "Red shirt" protests over the last 2 months result in several deaths and hundreds of injuries.
June 2009 Leaders of the PAD protest group that helped topple Thaksin Shinawatra apply
to register themselves as the New Politics Party.
July-September 2009 Thousands of pro-and anti-Thaksin protestors hold regular rallies in Bangkok and elsewhere.
November 2009 Row with Cambodia grows over the appointment of Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser to the Cambodian government.
26 February 2010 Supreme Court strips Mr Thaksin's family of half of its wealth after ruling that he illegally acquired $1.4bn during his time as PM. Security forces placed on high alert amid fear of clashes with Thaksin supporters.
12-14 March 2010 Protesters converge on Bangkok & up to 150,000 hold a mass rally at the Phan Fah bridge in Bangkok's old quarter.
3 April 2010 Protesters seize the Ratchaprasong intersection in the commercial district of downtown Bangkok.
8 April 2010 State of emergency declared in Bangkok after red shirts force their way into parliament
10 April 2010 Troops attempt to break up protest at Phan Fah bridge, 25 people killed and more than 800 wounded in the country's worst clashes in 18 years
14 April 2010 Red shirts consolidate protests into one site at Ratchaprasong
22 April 2010 One woman is killed and more than 70 civilians injured when five M-79 grenades are launched from near pro-government demonstrators in Bangkok's Silom Road business district
3-4 May 2010 Abhisit announces a five-point reconciliation road map which would culminate in a Nov 14 election Red shirts respond, saying they accept Abhisit's offer, but object to election date
12 May 2010 Abhisit tells red shirts the deal is off and cancels plans for November 14 election, giving demonstrators until midnight to end their protest or face eviction by force
14 May 2010 Troops and protesters clash at multiple locations across Bangkok's commercial heart, where grenades and gunshots are heard throughout the day and night.
1316 May 2010 Violence escalates as police and troops besiege protest camp. At least 35 total people have been killed and over 250 injured in clashes, including foreign journalists and medical workers. First reports of police officers joining with protestors and shooting at the army. "Red Shirt" leaders warn of the possibility of civil war.
2010 19 May Army overruns red shirt camp resulting in the death of 12 people. Red Shirt leaders surrender and are arrested which is followed by rioting across Bangkok in which many buildings are destroyed by arson attacks including the CentralWorld
shopping centre. Both sides blame the other for CentralWorld arson attack.
August 2010 Thailand resumes diplomatic ties with Cambodia after Phnom Penh announced the resignation of ousted Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra as its economic advisor.
Late Dec -January 2011 Cambodia arrests 7 thai citizens/PAD members for illegally entering that country, including a Democrat MP and core leader of the PAD Veera Somkwamkid. Most are eventually given bail but PAD leader Veera and his secretary are eventually charged and found guilty of espionage, illegal entry, and trespassing, receiving lengthy prison sentences. Yellow-shirt" nationalists protest in Bangkok against the government's handling of the border row regarding the arrested Thais as well as disputed territory, demanding that Thailand get tougher with Cambodia.
February 2011 Thai and Cambodian forces exchange fire across the disputed border area near the Preah Vihear temple in the Northeast of Thailand. Both sides agree to allow Indonesian monitors to prevent further clashes.
11 Feb 2011 Constitutional Amendments pass final reading with Puea Thai Party members staging a walk out claiming that the vote was unconstitutional. Major changes to Sections 93-98 added 45 MPs from the party-list system to parliament and took away 25 MPs based on the constituency system. Total size of lower house increases from 480 to 500. Other changes were to Section 190 that relates to parliamentary approval for the signing of treaties.
23 March 2011 Army Chief Prayuth says army doesnt want the Indonesian monitors coming to disputed areas because it's dangerous and will complicate the problem. While rejecting the idea of observers, he finally concedes that its up to the government to decide.
23 March 2011 PAD leader Sondhi announces at rally that PAD will campaign for No Votes during election because they feel that all parties are corrupt. This campaign continues and includes fights with the leader of the New Politics Party that wants to contest, the party the PAD once founded.
April -May 2011 Fighting breaks out for several days between Cambodian and Thai forces across the border near two disputed Hindu temples of Ta Moan and Ta Krabey, later spreading back to the area around Preah Vihear temple.
7 April 2011 House Passes three election related organic laws required due to changes brought by Februarys constitutional amendments
10 April 2011 Thousands of red shirts rally near Phan Fah bridge to mark the one-year anniversary of first major crackdown against protesters in 2010.
12 April 2011 Army files lese majeste complaints on behalf of Army Chief Prayuth against several red shirt leaders for comments made during 10 April rally.
18 April 2011 After the PM raises the issue, the ECT agrees to draw up rules that forbid mentioning the monarchy during the election campaign.
19 April 2011 Influential former PM Chavalit Yongchaiyudh quits as a member of the Puea Thai Party because he says hes uncomfortable with their connections to the red shirts
25 April 2011 Senate passes the three organic election laws and theyre sent to constitutional court to verify their constitutionality.
6 May 2011 PM Abhisit submits royal decree to the king to dissolve the house.
09 May 2011 Constitutional Court clears the three election-related organic laws which were passed by parliament, approving them as inline with the March constitutional changes.
09 May 2011 After returning from ASEAN summit meeting, PM Abhisit confirms the king has endorsed the royal decree to dissolve parliament and it will take effect the next day, 10 May. During the same broadcast, he confirms that the election day will be July 3rd.
10 May 2011 Yingluck Shinawatra declares herself a candidate on Puea Thais party list
16 May 2011 Yingluck is announced to be Puea Thais PM Candidate
19 May 2011 Party registration and drawing of ballot numbers for party list voting. Puea Thai gets #1, Democrat party #10
19 May 2011 Tens of thousands of red shirts rally at Ratchaprasong to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of the militarys 2nd major 2010 crackdown against protesting red shirts.
23 May 2011 Registration Period for party-list candidates closes with 40 parties competing with a total of 1410 party-list candidates for the 125 party-list seats.
24 May 2011 Registration for Constituency based MP candidates begins
24 May 2011 The Internal Security Act (ISA) has been lifted in Bangkok and the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) has been closed down
25 May 2011 The Pheu Thai Party filed a complaint with the EC charging the Democrat Party with spreading false allegations against Pheu Thai candidates, an offence punishable by party dissolution. The complaints are based on comments by Democrat Party Sec. Gen. Suthep where he called certain Puea Thai candidates linked to the red shirt movement terrorists.

Sources: The Associated Press, The Bangkok Post, The Nation, Wikipedia, BBC News


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