The business-woman, Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of the controversial former prime minister, the tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra, was chosen by Thailand’s parliament as the country’s 28th prime minister on 5 August.
She is the first female prime minister of the country. At the age of 44, she is also the youngest female prime minister in the world. This comes after the Pheu Thai Party led by Thaksin supporters won the 3 July general elections by an absolute majority. Winning 265 out of 500 parliamentary seats, they have built alliances with smaller parties to form a 300-seat coalition.
On paper, Yingluk’s government seems stable. It has 60 per cent support in parliament, a weakened anti-Thaksin movement and a lack of support for the military at this stage. But much of the unresolved social and economic dissatisfaction in society could trigger new conflicts. Thailand has gone through many military coups, interventions by the monarchy and the removal of prime ministers through uprisings and protests. All these changes of government have safeguarded the interests of the capitalist class while neglecting the needs of the working class and rural poor.