Thailand. According to Countryaah, the capital of Thailand is Bangkok. The Asian economic crisis, which began just in Thailand in 1997, overshadowed all other social life in 1998 as well. planned to increase the state’s opportunities to stimulate the economy and create new growth. The United States came to Thailand with a support package of $ 1.7 billion, of which just over half intended to stimulate exports. The Asian Development Bank led a consortium of banks that granted $ 1 billion in export support. To save the crisis-hit banks, the government lent $ 7.2 billion in government bonds against collateral in the form of preference shares. In return, the banks must renegotiate bad loans and, if necessary, seek foreign partners. In this way, the banks could grant new loans to the business sector, which the government hoped would give new impetus to the economy.
The IMF estimated that Thailand’s economy would decrease by up to 8% in 1998, but that a turning point would be reached towards the end of the year and that moderate growth is possible again in 1999.
Governor Chaiyawat Wibulswasdi resigned in May, a few days before he was appointed co-responsible for the crisis in a report from an independent commission.
The government expanded in October with Chart Pattana (the National Development Party), thereby strengthening its majority. The government transformation was partly caused by a corruption scandal within the coalition partner Kij Sangkhom (Social Action Party) which forced the party’s health minister to resign.
1997 Financial crisis
In the summer of 97, Thailand was plunged into a deep financial crisis that was further exacerbated by scandals and the banks’ desperate rescue operations. The crisis led the finance minister to resign and a large number of companies had to close.
In August 97, the drafting of a constitutional reform, which included was supposed to help reduce corruption, establish citizens’ rights, and eliminate the military’s influence in the Senate. With the prospect of losing power, the government parties initially rejected the reform, but were forced to accept it when it was approved by the military and King Bhumibol. It was finally adopted in Parliament on 11 October.
In November 97, Chuan Leekpai once again assumed the post of Prime Minister. The Thai currency – Baht – had been devalued by 37% since the beginning of the crisis 4 months earlier. The crisis continued throughout the following year, with GDP falling by 8%. 1.8 million (6%) were unemployed and the government promised to fire 200,000 of the 1.5 million civil servants. The IMF gave the country a loan of $ 17.2 billion. dollars, but in turn made a number of claims. In addition to public sector redundancies, the government was to sell 59 state-owned enterprises, including the telephone, electricity, petrochemical and financial sectors.
In March, the Prime Minister survived a vote of no confidence and even expanded the basis of his government coalition when Chart Pattana, with its 51 seats in parliament, also decided to step in. Initially, the government decided not to renew the work permit for ½ million immigrants, but in the end it succumbed to the pressure from rice growers and other employers using the cheap labor, and even issued 95,000 new work permits.
After months of tensions over political refugees from Myanmar, the government demanded that they be registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resettle. Deportations continued throughout 1999 and in November, the government announced that it wanted to deport an additional 700,000 immigrant workers to give their jobs to unemployed Thais. But in January 2000, after pressure from employers, the government again allowed foreign workers to enter the country to participate in the harvest.
The king’s concubine is making a comeback
King Vajiralongkorn’s concubine Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi regains her royal and military titles which she was deprived of after being accused of “disloyalty” and of challenging Queen Suthida’s status (see October 2019). The decision is made at the same time as popular protests are underway against the majestic laws that protect the royal family from criticism.
Several charges are brought
At the same time as the street protests are growing in strength, the first charges are being brought against the protesters. Six people are charged with violating security laws and coronary restrictions, as well as computer crime.
A third democracy activist was arrested
Democracy activist Parit Chiwarak is arrested for demanding political reform, a new constitution and a review of the laws protecting the royal family from criticism and scrutiny during a major demonstration on July 18. Parit Chiwarak is the third protester to be arrested in recent weeks’ protests against both the government and the monarchy. The detainees are accused of sedition and of violating coronary restrictions.
The first arrests in connection with the growing regime-critical protests take place when two young people are accused of disturbing public order and creating chaos in the kingdom. The accusations relate to a demonstration held on July 18 at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok. The detainees will be released a few days later. The protests are now being held in several of the country’s cities. Thousands of people are participating in Bangkok and the criticism of the majesty laws is growing.
Criticism-critical protests are growing
Young Thais defy police and have been holding daily regime-critical protests in central Bangkok for two weeks. Smaller groups have also protested against the harsh laws that prohibit criticism of the monarchy and can carry up to 15 years in prison. The military-backed government has seen its popularity decline as the corona pandemic has caused Thailand’s tourist and export – dependent economy to deteriorate rapidly.