Thailand. After months of wear and tear within the just over a year-old seven-party government, Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-Archa resigned in September and announced new elections. The government was accused of widespread corruption and mismanagement of the economy. The election led to a new coalition similar to the old one, but without Banharn’s party. The Prime Minister became former Commander-in-Chief and Defense Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, leader of the New Hope Party (Kwam Wang Mai). His entry raised concerns about increased military influence over politics. The Bangkok Stock Exchange responded to the election results with a 6% race.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does TH stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Thailand. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.
|Unemployment rate||, 7%|
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||1,236,000,000,000 USD|
|GDP growth rate||3.90%|
|GDP per capita||$ 17,900|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||13.2%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||3.10%|
|Investment volume||24.4% of GDP|
|National debt||41.90% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||193,500,000,000 USD|
|Number of visitors||24,810,000|
1973-76 A short political spring
In 1968, dictator Thanom Kittikachorn initiated a new parliamentary experiment, only to put an end to it with a coup d’état three years later. But opposition to the military dictatorship grew. On October 14, 1973, after major student demonstrations and street fighting in Bangkok, Thanom was ousted and a civilian government was deployed. Democratic rights were introduced and in 1975 elections were held and a coalition government formed of more or less liberal parties. This government put an end to the unilateral military attachment to the United States, and by 1976 all the forces of the superpower had been withdrawn from the country. It also began to improve relations with the country’s communist neighbors.
The US withdrawal paved the way for rapid development of tourism in Thailand. During the Vietnam War, the Pentagon had used Thailand both as a military base and as a recreation area for superpower soldiers. The presence of the North American troops provided the basis for the development of extensive prostitution, and as the soldiers were drawn out, prostitution became associated with the tourism industry. Thailand’s reputation as a center for sex tourism in the 1990s is thus linked to the US presence in the 60s and 70s. (See International Prostitution).
It was also in the 70s that the working class – which is almost entirely concentrated in the Bangkok area – was given the opportunity to organize itself in trade unions and strike for higher wages, with the support of the legal left-wing parties, the Thai Socialist Party and the United Socialist Front. Many of the radical students actively participated in the work of organizing the workers and peasants.
As a trading partner, Japan gained an increasingly dominant status. The government had a shaky base of power in an elite, which was divided into many clicks. New elections were held, the government was replaced, but that did not change the situation. At the same time, however, it was clear that the extreme right wing was on the rise. In the fall of 1976, student unrest again erupted after the exiled dictator Thanom was allowed to travel back to the country. The demonstrations were bloodied down by police and military, and hundreds of students were killed. The next day, the military seized power and introduced a state of emergency. Still, the new military dictatorship had a weaker power base than the previous ones.
Following the 1976 coup, thousands of students from Bangkok joined the guerrilla, which was active in the northeast and south of the country. The Northeast remains the country’s most underdeveloped country, and as early as the 1960s a significant guerrilla movement – the Thai Patriotic Front – had developed, with the banned Communist Party playing an important role. The movement posed a real threat to the Thanom regime and North American forces took an active part in the fight against it. The other important guerrilla movement was separatist. It developed from 1965 among the discriminated Malay minority in the south, and demanded secession from Thailand and joining Malaysia. This movement partnered with the Malay Communist Party, which played a key role in the Malay guerrilla active in the border area between the two countries.
According to Countryaah.com, the population of Thailand in 1996 was 59,467,163, ranking number 17 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.010% yearly, and the population density was 116.3994 people per km2.