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New Aspiration Party (NAP)

Chavalit Yongchaiyudh entered politics after retiring in 1990 from a military career capped by his service as Army Commander, the most powerful uniformed position in the country. As a civilian, Chavalit held numerous high-level cabinet positions and founded the New Aspiration Party (NAP). The NAP won a plurality in 1996 elections, allowing Chavalit to become Prime Minister from November 1996 until November 1997, when he resigned after the Asian Financial Crisis started in Thailand.

After Thaksin Shinawatra became Prime Minister in 2001, the NAP joined Thaksin's coalition before agreeing to merge with Thai Rak Thai; Chavalit served as Deputy PM and then as Defense Minister. Chavalit was born on May 15, 1932. Contemporary political cartoons typically portray him as incoherent and senile. He is also perceived as a practitioner of the worst sorts of political machinations; after December 31, 2006 bombings in Bangkok, Chavalit had to defend himself publicly against insinuations he might have orchestrated the bombings for political purposes.

Chavalit had been Thaksin's first choice to lead the People's Power Party (PPP) to contest the 2007 elections, but negotiations had collapsed when Chavalit insisted on being able to establish policies as well as to control the party's funds. Thaksin therefore had turned to his second choice, Samak Sundaravej.

In June 2007 New Aspiration Party Leader Chingchai Mongkoltham revealed that the Constitutional Court's decision to dissolve political parties and revoke the political rights of party members for 5 years has set new standards from the nation, and may be considered a historical turning point in Thailand's politics. Mr. Chingchai said that the court's decision is a new opportunity for remaining political parites to conduct activities according to their ideals. Mr. Chingchai said that his party remained committed to democratic ideology, and to creating a strong and stable nation on principles of self-sufficiency and reconciliation. The New Aspiration Party Leader admitted that he has been keeping touch with Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and had requested that the general return to politics to strengthen the New Aspiration Party.

PM-elect Somchai Wongsawat's cabinet, which received endorsement by King Bhumibol in September 2008, included Former Prime Minister (1996-97) Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who assumed the position of Deputy Prime Minister in the cabinet. Chavalit was not popular, but his appointment may help ease ongoing anti-government protests in Bangkok, facilitate discussions with Cambodian leaders, and result in extra attention toward ending the southern insurgency. Chavalit was a loose cannon largely discredited by his mishandling of the run-up to the 1997 financial crisis, but he has retained useful networks (a reputed business partner of Cambodian leaders Hun Sen and Tea Banh; a southern Thai political network known as the Wada faction; former New Aspiration Party activists who were part of the PAD). Some speculated that Somchai had selected Chavalit for one of several Deputy PM positions at Thaksin's request. Thaksin often spoke of the need for "heavyweight" figures; Chavalit fit that bill. Chavalit is an "old tiger," as veteran politicians are referred to in Thai; while he had many enemies in the press, politics, and reportedly in the palace, he continued to exude a certain charisma ("baramie").

Mr Manus Prasartrat, Director of the EC Office in Bangkoks constituency 6, revealed that there were six candidates for the upcoming by-election after the application period from 28 June to 2 July 2010. The six include Vice Foreign Minister Panich Vikisreth from the Democrat Party, Mr Noppadon Chairitthidej from the Chart Samuccee Party, Mr Anusorn Som-on from the New Aspiration Party, Mr Korkaew Pikulthong from the Pheu Thai Party, Mr Chuchart Pimka from the For Our Homeland Party, and Mr Kijanapat Samsila from the Prachatham Party.




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