Timeline: Thailand’s political instability
A timeline of Thailand’s political turmoil:
February: Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai party wins 377 of the 500 seats in parliament ensuring a second landslide election victory.
September: Thaksin’s former friend, Sondhi Limthongkul, begins weekly rallies in a Bangkok park accusing the prime minister of corruption, cronyism and abuse of power after his show on state television was taken off air for criticising various parties.
January: Thaksin’s relatives sell their controlling stake in Shin Corp, the telecoms empire he founded, to Singapore state investment firm Temasek. The tax-free $1.9 billion sale angers Bangkok’s middle classes and adds momentum to Sondhi’s campaign.
February: The street protests against Thaksin’s government continue to grow and the prime minister calls a snap election on April 2, three years early and two days before the largest anti-government rally yet.
Three main opposition parties soon announce an election boycott after Thaksin rejects their demand for a neutral body to reform the constitution.
Mass protests have been
March: About 100,000 protesters mass at Government House and vow to continue demonstrating until Thaksin resigns.
April 2: The election is held despite the opposition boycott with Thai Rak Thai winning the majority of votes.
April 4: After a strong protest vote, Thaksin meets the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, before announcing he will step down as soon as the next parliament meets.
April 5: Day-to-day power is transferred to the deputy prime minister, Chidchai Vanasatidya.
April 25: The king tells the judges of the three top courts to sort out the “mess”.
April 26: The three main opposition parties say they will stand in a new election if the April 2 poll is annulled.
May 8: The Constitutional Court rules that the election is unconstitutional and a new poll should be held.
May 23: Thaksin resumes day to day control of the government, saying it was time to get back work on economic and security issues.
May 30: The government sets October 15 as the date for the re-run of the annulled election.
June: Thaksin files libel suits worth $21 million against opposition Democrats and three newspapers.
The popular king is keen to end
July 13: The Constitutional Court agrees to consider charges of electoral abuse by Thaksin’s party and the opposition Democrats. If found guilty, the parties could be disbanded.
July 20: The head of the Thai army unexpectedly re-assigns more than 100 middle-ranking officers thought to be supporters of Thaksin, adding to rumours the force is divided and of a possible coup.
July 21: The king approves October 15 as the date for an election re-run, saying he wants a swift end to the political crisis.
August: Thaksin accuses army officers of aiming to assassinate him after police find a car containing bomb-making materials close to his home.
September 19: Tanks and troops poured into the streets of Bangkok as the country’s army chief said he had seized control in a coup and ousted Thaksin.