Duncan McCargo & Ukrist Pathmanand
The 1997 economic crisis ended two decades of pluralism in Thai politics and helped create the conditions for the landslide election victory in January 2001 of Thaksin Shinawatra, a fabulously wealthy telecommunications magnate often compared with Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi.
Prime minister Thaksin has since exercised an extra-ordinary degree of personal dominance over the Thai political scene. The emergence of Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai (Thais love Thai) Party has transformed Thailand’s electoral landscape, rendering previous analyses of Thai politics substantially outdated. This book will examine Thaksin’s background, his business activities, the emergence of Thai Rak Thai, his relationship with the military, Thaksin’s use of rhetoric through media such as radio, his wider political economy networks, and the future direction of Thai politics. This detailed but gripping study draws on extensive research by two leading specialists in the field.