Timeline: Political crisis in Thailand

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Timeline: Political crisis in Thailand

POSTED: 1:36 p.m. EDT, May 30, 2007

BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) — Thai judges on Wednesday banned ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and 110 other top officials in his party from politics for five years.

Here are some of the political and economic milestones that have shaken the country since 2006.

January 23, 2006: Thaksin family’s tax-free $1.9 billion sale of their controlling stake in telecoms major Shin Corp to Singapore state investment firm Temasek angers Bangkok’s middle class, fueling weeks of protests.

April 5: Thaksin steps down and hands day-to-day power to a deputy three days after an opposition boycott renders a snap general election he called invalid.

September 19: Tanks surround Government House in a bloodless military coup, Thailand’s first in 15 years. Thaksin ousted while he is preparing to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

October 1: Former army commander-in-chief Surayud Chulanont is sworn in as interim prime minister. Thaksin, exiled in London, steps down as Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party leader two days later.

December 19: Thai stock exchange plunges 14.8 percent, its biggest one-day drop since 1990, one day after Bank of Thailand chief Tarisa Watanagase announces stringent capital controls to stem the baht’s rise.

December 31: A string of bombs in Bangkok kill three people and wound more than 30 as crowds celebrate New Year’s Eve.

January 9, 2007: Foreign investors receive another shock as controversial changes to the Foreign Business Act are proposed.

February 21: Economic adviser Somkid Jatusripitak, an ex-finance minister and the architect of Thaksin’s pro-business policies, resigns six days after his appointment outrages critics of the old Thaskin government.

February 28: Finance Minister Pridyathorn Devakula quits, blaming cabinet infighting. His successor, Chalongphob Sussangkarn, is appointed on March 7.

March 26: Prosecutors charge Potjaman Shinawatra, Thaksin’s wife, and her brother and secretary with tax evasion. Complaints continue about the slowness of the investigation into allegations of corruption under Thaksin.

March 29: Surayud refuses a demand by coup leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin to use emergency powers to prevent small anti-government rallies growing out of control. He announces a general election will be held on December 16 or December 22.

May 30: The Constitutional Tribunal bans Thaksin’s party after it was found guilty of breaking election laws.

The judges say all members of the executive committee of the party which includes Thaksin, are banned for five years and the party disbanded.

The guilty verdicts on both charges against Thaksin’s party came after the court acquitted the rival Democrat Party of any wrongdoing in the inconclusive 2006 election, later annulled.

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