News / Asia

Yingluck Shinawatra Elected Thailand's First Female PM

Thailand's new Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra gives a Thai traditional "wai" greeting at parliament in Bangkok, Aug. 5, 2011
Thailand's new Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra gives a Thai traditional "wai" greeting at parliament in Bangkok, Aug. 5, 2011

Multimedia

The Thai parliament has elected Yingluck Shinawatra, to be the country's first woman prime minister during a special session of the House of Representatives. The rookie politician’s first challenge is to ensure stability with the selection of a new Cabinet and making good on election promises.

Yingluck, a 44-year-old former businesswoman, was elected Friday as the nation’s 28th prime minister during a special session of the House of Representatives.

House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont announced the outcome of the vote in the House chamber - 296 to 3 with 197 abstentions.

Video footage of parliament vote

What lies ahead?

Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party commands 265 seats in the 500 member House of Representatives, with coalition partners lifting the government’s hold on the chamber to 300 seats. Her election comes a month after national elections led her Pheu Thai Party to victory.

Party leader Yongyuth Wichaidith, said Friday that public confidence in the government resides in its ability to deliver policy programs.

“It depends on us. If we can work to the best of the people and to the well being of the people and the security of the nation it means it’s OK. It depends on us, not depend on [any] other factor,” said Yongyuth Wichaidith.

Key challenges

But analysts say Yingluck faces key challenges as she prepares to oversee a new administration. She is the younger sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and now lives in exile because he faces a two year jail term for corruption in Thailand.

Media reports say both Thaksin and his former wife, Pojaman na Pombejra, are said to be closely advising Yingluck on selecting Cabinet members.

Thaksin remains a divisive figure in Thailand’s political landscape. The urban middle class had accused him of abuse of power and human rights abuses while in office.  

His popularity was built on populist economic policies while in power.

Red Shirt movement

Over the past two years Thaksin supporters, led by the ‘red shirt’ movement staged protests against the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, that saw the worst political violence in 20 years and dozens killed in clashes with security forces. But the red shirt movement also played a key role in Pheu Thai Party’s election win and is pressing for Cabinet posts.

Outgoing government leader, the Democrat Party’s Abhisit, said the new government needs to urgently address national problems as well as help avoid a return of political extremism in the country.

“We will continue to be a responsible and constructive opposition. But it’s now in the hands of the government and I cannot speak for them - particularly the need to strike a balance - which I recognize of accommodating their base - the red shirts and making sure the country doesn’t go down an extreme path,” said Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Campaign promises

Sunai Pasuk, the Thailand-based representative for Human Rights Watch, says although her party has a strong position in parliament, Yingluck faces the challenge of delivering election platform promises such as higher minimum wages and prices for rice farmers.

“In economic terms, in the provision of social welfare and all these issues will come back to challenge the integrity and credibility of the government. So if there is anything that may challenge the stability of the Yingluck government it is her own policy promises - whether her government can fulfill those promises or not. That will be a major test for her to face,” said Sunai Pasuk.

Yingluck will announce her Cabinet in the coming days before the full list of officers is forwarded to the Thai King for endorsement, enabling the new administration to sit down to work.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid