The consultations of November 1996, this time, assigned the success to the Party of the new aspiration, headed by former General Chavalit Yonghayudh. However, in 1997, following the entry into force of yet another Constitution, which introduced the election by universal suffrage also of senators, electoral consultations were held again. Democrat Chuan Leekpai was appointed prime minister who, by promoting a program of economic reforms, finally seemed to lead Thailand towards a certain stability: a guarantee that seemed sufficient to obtain help from the International Monetary Fund and to restore the economy, destabilized by that crisis that that year had involved all Asian countries. But the economic policy pursued by Leekpai in his four years of government fueled the suspicion among Thais that the Democrats only wanted to incentivize the interests of large financial institutions and foreign investors, without any consideration for the economic hardships of the middle class.
For this reason, in the 2001 legislative elections, Leekpai was defeated by Thaksin Shinawatra of the Thai Rak Thai Party (Thais love Thais), which he founded. Shinawatra, a wealthy telecommunications magnate, in fact, skillfully exploiting the unpopularity of the Democrats, won 254 seats out of 500 and was appointed prime minister in November 2001. In 2003 the government launched a campaign against drug trafficking and one against illegal detention. of weapons. In January 2004, the guerrilla warfare of groups linked to Islamic extremism exploded in some southern provinces, causing hundreds of victims. In December 2004, the coasts of the Indian Ocean were devastated by a terrible tsunami caused by an earthquake off the island of Sumatra. Villages and coasts were completely submerged by the waters causing thousands of victims, including many Westerners who flocked to Thailand’s tourist centers. In February 2005, the legislative elections were held once again won by the party of Prime Minister Shinawatra. A year later, following strong pressure, the premier dissolved Parliament and called new elections that took place in April 2006. However, the opposition did not participate in these and in 38 constituencies the elections were null due to lack of voters.
Even though he came out the winner of the competition, the premier gave in to the protests and announced his intention to resign in the inauguration of the Parliament, after the by-elections. In September, while Shinawatra was at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a military coup overthrew him; in its place the military junta installed General Surayud Chulanont, former head of the armed forces. In May 2007, the Constitutional Court decided on the dissolution of Shinawatra’s party and the abstention of the former premier and another hundred parliamentarians from political activity for five years. In August a referendum was held to approve the new Constitution wanted by the military junta. Legislative elections were held in December, won by the PPP (Party of People’s Power) and in January 2008 he assumed the office of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. In September the constitutional court forced the premier to resign and the parliament elected Somchai Wongsawat, a candidate of the PPP, as new prime minister. After numerous protests and strikes, in December 2008 the constitutional court dissolved the PPP, guilty of having defrauded the 2007 elections; Prime Minister S. Wongsawat, dismissed, he was expelled from political activity for five years, while parliament elected the leader of the Democratic Party (PAD), Abhisit Vejjajiva, as prime minister.
But supporters of T. Shinawatra (red shirts) continued to demonstrate against the government; in April 2010, according to aceinland, thousands of demonstrators protested in the streets of Bangkok, breaking into the seat of the government. The situation worsened the following month with the offensive by the army, which managed to free the area of the capital in the hands of the demonstrators. This forceful action, in which dozens of rioters lost their lives, did not prevent the government from putting an end to the political and social crisis. In the following elections, in July 2011, Yingluck Shinawatra, leader of the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) and sister of the former premier, became the new prime minister; his party achieved an absolute majority in Parliament (263 seats out of 500). After weeks of protests and the resignation of opposition MPs, Parliament was dissolved in December 2013. The new 2014 elections were boycotted by the opposition and the Constitutional Court invalidated the results. In July, the army carried out a coup d’etat suspending the Constitution and a provisional constitutional law was approved that allowed the formation of a legislative assembly of 200 members chosen by the military junta. opposition and the Constitutional Court invalidated the results. In July, the army carried out a coup d’etat suspending the Constitution and a provisional constitutional law was approved that allowed the formation of a legislative assembly of 200 members chosen by the military junta. opposition and the Constitutional Court invalidated the results. In July, the army carried out a coup d’etat suspending the Constitution and a provisional constitutional law was approved that allowed the formation of a legislative assembly of 200 members chosen by the military junta.