New Thai PM receives royal endorsement

Last Updated: Monday, August 8, 2011 - 22:50

Bangkok: Thailand`s king endorsed Yingluck
Shinawatra as the new premier on Monday, an official said,
allowing the sister of fugitive ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra
to take the helm of the troubled nation.

Yingluck, a 44-year-old political novice, was elected as
Thailand`s first ever female Prime Minister in a parliamentary
vote on Friday but had to complete formalities including
official approval by King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

"His Majesty the King has given his endorsement," House
Speaker Somsak Kietsuranont told AFP after receiving an
audience with the 83-year-old monarch, who has been in
hospital since September 2009.

Yingluck swept to an election victory last month with the
support of her older brother Thaksin, who is loathed by the
elite in government, military and palace circles, and was
toppled in a 2006 coup.

Bhumibol, who has reigned for more than six decades, is
seen as a stabilising force in the troubled country but has no
official political role.

The businesswoman, described by her brother as his
"clone", faces the tough challenge of bringing unity to the
politically volatile kingdom.

Thaksin, a former telecoms tycoon, lives in self-imposed
exile to avoid a jail sentence imposed in his absence for
corruption.

His overthrow by the army heralded five years of political
crises both in the Thai parliament and on the streets, where
his elite-backed foes and his mainly working-class supporters
have held crippling rival protests.

The situation escalated last year when more than 90
people, mostly civilians, were killed in clashes between the
army and "Red Shirt" protesters who largely support Thaksin
for his populist policies while in office.=

Thaksin or his allies have won the most seats in the past
four elections, but the courts reversed the results of the
last two polls.

Thailand has also seen 18 actual or attempted military
coups since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

Yingluck has formed a six-party coalition, holding
three-fifths of the seats in the lower house of Parliament, in
an attempt to bolster her hold on power.

PTI

First Published: Monday, August 8, 2011 - 15:58
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