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Key moments in Thailand's political crisis

  • Article by: The Associated Press
  • Associated Press
  • May 7, 2014 - 7:45 AM

Thailand's 28th prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, served two years and nine months in office before being forced out Wednesday by a court that found her guilty of abuse of power. The decision follows nearly eight years of political conflict between supporters and opponents of her brother, a prime minister forced out of office by the military. Some key dates in the crisis:

— Sept. 19, 2006: The army topples Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a bloodless coup following months of protests alleging corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for the monarchy.

— December 2007: A pro-Thaksin political party easily wins elections and later names Samak Sundaravej as prime minister.

— August 2008: Thousands of Thaksin opponents, known as the Yellow Shirts, take over the prime minister's office compound and stay for three months. They later take over Bangkok's two airports for a week, halting air travel.

— September: Samak is removed from office after a court rules payment for an appearance on a TV cooking show constituted conflict of interest. Parliament selects Somchai Wongsawat — Thaksin's brother-in-law — as his successor.

— October: The Supreme Court sentences the self-exiled Thaksin to two years in prison for corruption.

— December: Protests end after a court finds Somchai's party guilty of electoral fraud and dissolves it. With the backing of the military, opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva is chosen prime minister.

— March 2010: Pro-Thaksin Red Shirts aiming to drive out Abhisit start street protests that clog central Bangkok. The military storms their camp two months later, raising the toll to more than 90 dead and 1,800 wounded during the crackdown and earlier clashes.

— July 3, 2011: The Thaksin-backed Pheu Thai party wins election by a landslide. Yingluck Shinawatra later becomes Thailand's first female prime minister.

— Nov. 1: The lower house of Parliament passes an amnesty bill that could allow Thaksin to return from exile. Public anger builds and the anti-Thaksin movement gains strength, even after the Senate kills the bill and the government decides not to revive it.

— Nov. 24: Anti-government rallies in Bangkok draw well over 100,000 people. The next day, hardcore protesters besiege several government ministries and offices.

— Nov. 26: Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban demands that the government be dissolved and an unelected "people's council" be established to make reforms to eliminate all vestiges of Thaksin's political power.

— Dec. 9: Yingluck announces she will dissolve the lower house of Parliament, calling early elections in an attempt to calm the crisis.

— Feb. 2, 2014: National elections are disrupted as protesters force some polling stations to close. It's later ruled invalid because the constitution requires voting take place on the same day nationwide.

— May 7: The Constitutional Court finds Yingluck's transfer of her National Security Council chief was illegal, and ousts her from her job. Nine other Cabinet members are removed for complicity.

© 2014 Star Tribune