Thaksin Shinawatra's entry into politics

Thaksin Shinawatra's Entry Into Politics

Thaksin Shinawatra's entry into politics

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Political debut as Foreign Minister in the first Chuan government

Thaksin Shinawatra entered politics in late 1994 under the invitation of Chamlong Srimuang, who had just reclaimed the position of Palang Dharma Party (PDP) leader from Boonchu Rojanastien. In a subsequent purge of Boonchu-affiliated PDP Cabinet ministers, Thaksin was appointed Foreign Minister in December 1994, replacing Prasong Soonsiri.

The PDP soon withdrew from the government over the Sor Por Kor 4-01 land reform corruption scandal, causing the government of Chuan Leekpai to collapse.

PDP leader and Deputy Prime Minister in the Banharn government

Chamlong, strongly criticized for mishandling internal PDP politics in the last days of the Chuan-government, retired from politics and hand-picked Thaksin as new PDP leader. Thaksin ran for election for the first time in July 1995, winning a parliamentary seat from Bangkok. However, the weakened and internally divided PDP won only 23 seats, compared to 46 in the 1992 elections.

Thaksin joined the government of Banharn Silpa-acha and was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Bangkok traffic. In May 1996, Thaksin and 4 other PDP ministers quit the Banharn Cabinet (while retaining their MP seats) to protest widespread allegations of corruption, prompting a Cabinet reshuffle. Many have claimed that Thaksin's move was designed to help give Chamlong Srimuang a boost in the June...
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