Profile: Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva 2009-04-12 16:17:29   Print

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva greets before an interview at the government house in Bangkok December 25, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
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    BANGKOK, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Sunday noon declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and provinces surrounding Bangkok, following mass anti-government protests demanding his step down.

    Abhisit was elected as Thailand's 27th Prime Minister on Dec. 15 last year during a special House voting session.

    Abhisit was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England to an elite family from Bangkok in 1964. His parents were both medical professors. His father once served as Deputy Minister of Public Health.

    Abhisit graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and later obtained a Master's Degree in Economics from Oxford University, Britain.

    He taught briefly at Thailand's Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, and once served as a lecturer in the Faculty of Economics at Thammasat University of Thailand.

    Abhisit began his political career in 1992 as a Democrat MP for Bangkok constituency. He was reelected to the same seat in 1995 and 1996.

    In the elections of 2001 and 2005, he won his seat at the House of Representatives as a Party List MP for the Democrat Party.

    He has served as Democrat Party spokesman, Government spokesman, Deputy-Secretary to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs, Chairman of the House Education Affairs Committee, and Minister to the Prime Minister's Office.

    In 2005, Abhisit was picked as Democrat Party leader to replace Banyat Bantadtan who resigned following a flat defeat by Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai party in the 2005 general election.

    The Democrat Party joined with two other major opposition parties in boycotting the April 2006 snap election called by the Thaksin government.

    However, the party failed to obtain immediate political gains from the Sept. 19, 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva speaks during a news conference at the interior ministry in Bangkok April 12, 2009. Thai PM on Sunday declared a state of emergency over Bangkok and some districts in five nearby provinces.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    The Democrat Party was left alone on the opposition bench after the reincarnation of disbanded Thai Rak Thai party -- People Power Party led by Samak Sundaravej won the post-coup general election on Dec. 23, 2007 and formed a six-party coalition government.

    In a House voting in January 2008, Abhisit lost to Samak for the post of prime minister, receiving 163 votes against 310 votes for Samak.

    After Samak was disqualified by the Constitutional Court as PM in early September, Abhisit lost the parliament voting for Samak's successor 163:298 to Somchai Wongsawat on Sept. 17, 2008.

    Abhisit is seen as a new-generation politician, young, well- educated, representing an urban elite class. As Democrat leader, he enjoys support from the urban middle-class, especially those from Bangkok and southern Thailand. Abhisit has tried to win over the poorer people.

    Abhisit has been under pressure to step down from the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), or the "red-shirts, a major anti- government force in Thailand. The UDD members and supporters are often referred to informally as "red shirts" since they are known for wearing red clothes during anti-government protests.

Editor: Wang Guanqun
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