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Thaksin’s ghost

Thailand's disgraced billionaire ex-leader might have been banned from the country. But he is still behind the crisis convulsing it

By William Barnes   December 2008

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is in exile

Bangkok’s airport has been overrun. Thailand’s cabinet is playing hide-and-seek with protestors. Gunfire has been exchanged in the capital. The army is restless and bombs are being thrown. It sounds like mighty forces fighting for supremacy. But Thailand’s real problem is actually a power vacuum. The army, opposition parties, royalists and cronies of billionaire former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra are all competing for influence. Stuck like an elephant in a mud trap, the country is in crisis precisely because no single party seems able to take a grip of events.


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