Thaksin 'clone' set to be Thai PM
BANGKOK, July 3, 2011 (AFP) - Yingluck Shinawatra, who is set to be Thailand's first female prime minister, is a political novice whose biggest asset is also her most controversial -- her family name.
She is widely seen as a stand-in for her older brother, the fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra who describes Yingluck as his "clone" and who has already called to congratulate her on an apparent landslide election victory.
According to exit polls, Yingluck has led Thaksin's Puea Thai Party to a landslide win, with a thumping majority of up to 313 seats out of 500 against just 152 for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's ruling Democrats.
The photogenic 44-year-old businesswoman has run a polished campaign, defying sceptics who said the initial excitement over her nomination as the main opposition candidate for prime minister would soon fizzle out.
A smiling Yingluck arrived at Puea Thai headquarters Sunday afternoon, clad in bright purple, to be mobbed by jubilant supporters and the media, but cautioned she wanted to wait for the official results before claiming victory.
"Thank you to the people who came out to vote," she told supporters.
With her groomed appearance, relaxed demeanour and carefully choreographed stage routines, Yingluck -- 18 years junior to her controversial big brother -- proved a hit on the campaign trail.
"There's no question she's getting a bounce from excitement over the idea of Thailand having a woman prime minister, the novelty of a fairly young, attractive candidate, and because the Democrats are running such a lacklustre campaign," said Thailand expert Michael Montesano.
And on top of that is her name -- a big plus in the eyes of Thaksin's fans but a turnoff for supporters of the establishment.
"She could have been a potted plant and that would have been true," said Montesano, of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.
Yingluck told AFP while campaigning that she and her brother were similar in their approach.
"We are alike in the sense that I have learned from him in business and I understand his vision, how he solves problems and the way he built everything from the beginning," she said.
Thaksin remains a hugely divisive figure in Thailand. He was ousted in a 2006 military coup and fled the country in 2008 before a court sentenced him in his absence to two years in prison for corruption.
He is still adored by many rural and working class voters for his populist policies while in power, but is reviled by the ruling elite who see him as corrupt and a threat to the revered monarchy.
Yingluck herself, however, is seen as a fresh face largely untainted by scandal. Accusations by her political foes that she lied in court to protect her brother appear to have had little impact on her popularity.
In contrast to British-born premier Abhisit who is criticised for lacking the common touch, she has refrained from negative campaigning, instead focusing on her policies and stressing the need for reconciliation after years of unrest.
"She's able to look natural in front of big crowds in a way that the prime minister just cannot, no matter what he does," said Montesano.
Yingluck was born on June 21, 1967, into one of the most prominent ethnic Chinese families in northern Chiang Mai province, the youngest of nine siblings.
Until recently president of Thai real estate firm SC Asset Corp, she graduated in political science from Chiang Mai University and earned a masters degree in public administration at Kentucky State University in the United States.
She returned to Thailand to work for one of Thaksin's companies as a trainee in the early 1990s, going on to take various positions within her brother's business empire.
She is a former president of the mobile telephone unit of Shin Corp., the telecoms giant founded by Thaksin that was at the centre of a scandal over the tax-free sale of the family's shares in the group in 2006.
While her business credentials are well known, observers say she has given few concrete clues about what kind of leader she would be.
"She is at the moment sticking by what Thaksin has asked her to do in a very detailed way," said a Bangkok-based Western diplomat. "I don't think we have yet seen what she is capable of."
The HK channels are saying she's a puppet with Thaksin pulling the strings paving the way for his comeback.
The British Embassy have issued a warning to any British nationals in Bangkok to be on their guard and avoid places where they may be political unrest. You've got to love the British Embassy. I don't like the look of that motorcycle taxi driver. He's wearing a red shirt. Well it's sort of red from under the streetlight. That dog looks as if it might bite. Oh my God! DON'T LOOK ROUND.
congrads to yingluck and i wish her well in bringing talented people into her inner circle to have success in governing thailand.
"Fear and Guilt are your only enemies. Love and Awareness are your true friends" -
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the democrats white washed everything the pad did to the govt house and the airport in their protests (no jail time for pad leaders), so i assume yingluck's govt will do the same for the reds and go further by declaring a general amnesty for all parties involved, including thaksin (though at the right time).
Farangrakthai, you've got me all wrong. I couldn't care less who wins. They're all as bad as each other.
But if the Thai stock prices improve, it might put a smile on my face.
But please don't get your knickers in a twist over my political views. As I said - I couldn't care less.
If at all possible, I never spend time worrying over things I have no control over.
Then you've got Abhisit, who's Western sensibilities led him to make deals with criminal politicians and a ruthless Army led by Mrs. Elvis herself...
...yah, who gives a flying fuck about the lot of them. If honoring the popular vote means Nana Plaza shuts down its topless joints, well I'm for a coup.
"Goddamn it Lord, bless oh ye this bacon..."
George Liquor American
not exactly the same. but some enjoy debating u.s/brit/thai politics and some enjoy writing about why they like their favorite pop group from the 80s.
We had Maggie Thatch. Thailand has Yingluck.
Whilst MT was a rancid bag of diseased wombats, Yingluck could privatize my utilities anytime
Tbh, I don't really care who won. It seems you never know how long the winners will last anyway.
".Tony Banks described the English fans arrested in Marseilles as 'brain dead idiots'. That goes for me as well. ".
Secretary of the Football Supporters Association.