Thailand. In February 1997, a deteriorating economy
forced major budget cuts. According to
Countryaah, more signs of an imminent crisis
came in March, when Thailand's largest finance company was
rescued from bankruptcy and the government was forced into
support measures to avoid a financial crash. To counter the
intense speculation against the currency, Baht, the central
bank bought Baht for more than $ 10 billion but was forced
July 2 to allow the currency to flow freely, which
immediately led to the Baht falling by 17% relative to the
At the end of the month, Thailand requested assistance
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which
contributed $ 17.2 billion. In return, the IMF demanded
remediation of state finances and the financial sector.
Major budget cuts were decided and a number of tax increases
were introduced. The central bank was given the power to
replace the management of weak financial companies and 56 of
them went bankrupt.
Behind the crisis were speculative investments in
unproductive sectors such as the real estate market.
Thailand had incurred a foreign debt of $ 90 billion and a
government debt twice as large as GDP. Exports had fallen
sharply. Thailand's crisis spread to most other East Asian
tiger economies during the second half of the year.
By the end of October, the baht had lost 35% of its value
against the US dollar since July 2, and during the year,
stock prices fell by 75%. After many years of growth of 6-8%
per year, GDP for 1997 was estimated to decline by just over
The weak coalition government collapsed under pressure.
Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh tried to reform the
government but was forced to step down after widespread
protests. He was replaced in November by 59-year-old Chuan
Leekpai, Democratic Party leader, Prachatipat. Chuan was
prime minister in 1992-95.
Before the change of government, the Parliament adopted a
new constitution, which was intended to make voting and
other corruption in politics more difficult.
2010 Demonstrations and military dictatorship
The opposition gathered in 2009 in the United Front for
Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) - the so-called red
shirts according to the color of their blouses they used
during demonstrations. During 2009, protests against the
illegal government increased. In October 2009, the UDD
demonstrated at the East Asian Summit in Cha-am and Hua Tin.
The protests then moved to Bangkok, where it escalated
through March and April 2010. The UDD demanded immediate
repression of elections, which was rejected by the illegal
government, which was sure to lose such an election. The
government, in turn, labeled the UDD's demonstrations as
unconstitutional and the UDD itself as a terrorist
organization. On April 8, Prime Minister Abhisit put the
country in a state of emergency after protesters had stormed
Parliament while in assembly. He also closed the radio and
TV stations as well as newspapers that had supported the
Foreign Ministry. On April 10, 24 people were killed and 800
injured in an unsuccessful attempt to crush the protests.
Almost everyone was killed by soldiers deployed against the
The opposition to the illegal government got a
constitutional aspect when Thailand's Election Commission on
April 12 demanded the Prime Minister's Democratic Party
dissolved. It didn't happen.
From mid-April, the government began organizing
counter-protesters - the so-called yellow shirts - to fight
the red shirts. However, the purpose - to present the
conflict as political contradictions between two organized
sections of Thai society - failed. The front went unchanged
between the Foreign Ministry demanding democracy and the
On May 3, Abhisit promised to conduct elections on
November 14. This was partly accepted by the Foreign
Ministry, which, however, at the same time demanded that the
soldiers be withdrawn and that the commander in charge of
the April 10 massacre be brought to trial. Both were
rejected by the prime minister, who at the same time
demanded that the UDD immediately suspend its
demonstrations. The 13-19. on May, the military attacked
opposition positions in Bangkok. Parts of the city were
declared free-fire zones, where soldiers fired without
warning - as in Copenhagen on May 18, 1993. Over 87 were
killed and over 1378 injured. 1 Italian journalist was
killed by the military. Journalists Without Borders and the
Thai Journalists' Union, in sharp turns, criticized the
government, which brutally cracked down on any independent
news release. Only government propaganda these days gained
access to the media and most information on the massacres
was suppressed. The protests against the illegal government
and the military had spread to all of Thailand's major
cities at this time and were also wiped out here. Following
the military's bloody slaughter of the protests, it imposed
a curfew in Bangkok and 23 provinces (out of the country's
75 provinces). Curfews had not been introduced since 1992.