Mobile phone and media tycoon who founded the Thai Rak Thai party after the economic crisis of 1997.
Prime minister 2001-6. Followed neoliberal policies, but with a populist twist, which included the introduction of universal healthcare.
Overthrown in coup, after his party was banned.
His supporters set up the People Power Party (PPP) which won the 2007 election. The PPP was banned by judges in 2008.
His supporters are now in the Puea Thai Party. He is currently in exile.
Current prime minister. Member of the conservative Democrat Party. Educated at Eton and Oxford.
Came to power last December when conservative judiciary disbanded ruling People Power Party.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Came to throne in 1946. One of the richest monarchs in the world.
He has also advocated a “sufficiency economy” where everyone allegedly curbs their spending according to their means. That means income redistribution is ruled out – one reason why the poor have consistently voted for Thaksin.
People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)
Started as coalition of protesters against Thaksin in 2005, claiming that his measures for the poor unfairly robbed the urban middle classes.
Established by conservative media-mogul Sondhi Limthongkul and army general Chamlong Srimuang.
Behind the so-called Yellow Shirts who took to the streets against the PPP government last year.
United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD)
Established at the time of the 2006 coup by supporters of Thaksin to defend gains made by the rural and urban poor.
Now popularly known as the Red Shirts.