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Pheu Thai Party

At least 111 members of the defunct Thai Rak Thai Party are under a five-year ban from politics. Among those banned politicians are former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and former Acting Thai Rak Thai leader Jaturon Chaisang, who are said to have breached the electoral law by handpicking Pheu Thai MP candidates for the recent election and coming up with policies under the slogan Thaksin thinks; Pheu Thai does.

The 23 December 2007 general election saw the People Power Party emerging as the largest party, followed by the Democrat Party, the Chart Thai Party, and other parties. No party gained more than half of the 480-member House of Representatives. The People Power Party had a chance to form a coalition government, with Mr. Samak Sundaravej as the 25th Prime Minister of Thailand, after the election, while the Democrat Party served as the Opposition. On 17 September 2008, Mr. Somchai Wongsawat of the People Power Party was voted the 26th Prime Minister of Thailand, replacing Mr. Samak, who stepped down because of a court decision that he had violated the Constitution by hosting a television show [a cooking show], which was considered a conflict of interest.

Prime Minister Abhisit was voted the 27th Prime Minister of Thailand at a special session of the House of Representatives on 15 December 2008. He was supported by 235 votes, against 198 votes. The House session was called after the Constitutional Court ruled that three coalition parties, namely the People Power Party, the Chart Thai Party, and the Matchimathpataya Party, were guilty of election fraud in the 23 December 2007 general election. As a result of the ruling, Mr. Somchai Wongsawat of the People Power Party lost his premiership immediately. So the extraordinary parliamentary session was opened to select a new prime minister in accordance with the Constitution.

By mid-August 2008 some PPPs MPs had already moved to the newly established Phua Thai party. Other MPs who were once with the Thai Rak Thai party were expected to join the new party as well. After Mr. Abhisit was appointed Prime Minister in December 2008, the former People Power Party was replaced by the Pheu Thai Party, which became the largest opposition party.

A majority of the members of the House of Representatives supported Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his cabinet ministers in a 21 March 2009 vote on a no-confidence motion. The no-confidence debate may prove to have been most important in serving as an action-forcing event that boosted the standing of MP Chalerm Yoobamrung within Puea Thai. With so many allies of Thaksin currently ineligible to hold political office, Puea Thai has languished under the weak leadership of Yongyuth Wichaidit, until recently an irrelevant figure in national politics. The Constitutional requirement that a no-confidence motion specify the opposition's nominee to become Prime Minister provided a boost to Chalerm, who received that designation. There was widespread speculation that Chalerm will formally ascend to the position of Party Leader after a March 24 PT gathering, with Yingluck Shinawatra (sister of Thaksin) likely to become the PT Secretary General.

Yingluck had no experience in politics and as of late 2009 didn't even have a formal job in the party. Many observers were dismissive of her political prospects, noting that in some ways she had the worst of both worlds: the burden of inheriting reflexive animosity from influential circles because of her name, coupled with none of the charisma and charm that allowed her brother to develop a groundswell of support. According to some, Thaksin himself was not eager to raise her profile within the party, and was more focused on finding ways to keep his own hand active in politics. Yingluck Shinawatra was Thaksin's conduit to PT MPs, even if she lacked a formal position in the party. Thaksin's proxies in Bangkok, including his sister Yingluck Shinawatra, were still actively trying to pave the way for his return to Thailand.

Former PM GEN Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's decided to join the party in late 2009. Chavalit had served as Prime Minister as one point, and then later accepted a job as Deputy Prime Minister, a development he characterized as unprecedented in Thai politics. Chavalit was involved with the violence associated with the May 1992 protests known as "Black May." Chavalit was also involved with the October 7, 2008 crackdown on "yellow-shirt" protestors. Puea Thai lacked viable candidates to serve as the public face for the party, and from that perspective, Puea Thai's recruitment of Chavalit made sense. Chavalit was not involved in the day-to-day details of Puea Thai party operations. At the age of 77, Chavalit was more of a big picture strategic thinker for the party than anything else. Chavalit would not be the party's choice as PM.

After the Pheu Thai Party won 265 seats in the general elections held on 3 July 2011, Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Pheu Thais number one party-list MP, announced that her party would form a six-party coalition comprising a total of 300 seats in the 500-seat House of Representatives. On 5 August 2011, the House of Representatives endorsed Ms. Yingluck as Thailands 28th Prime Minister.

On 8 August 2011, Prime Minister Yingluck gave her first address to the nation following her formal appointment as Prime Minister by a Royal Command. She said it was her greatest honour to serve the monarch, the country and the people and pledged to use her knowledge, competence and intellect to work hard and perform her duties honestly in order to bring peace and happiness to Thailand. She also said that reconciliation is a common goal of the nation, and vowed that she would not work for any particular group but for all Thais.

The new cabinet appointed by Prime Minister Yingluck was sworn in and assumed its duties on 10 August 2011. On 23 August 2011, Prime Minister Yingluck delivered her Government's policy statement to the joint sitting of the National Assembly. In her opening address, the Prime Minister emphasized the Governments determination to foster harmony and pursue reconciliation for the sake of the countrys political, economic, and social development.

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