Southeast Asia Bureau Chief
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Jul 3, 2011

Edgy Thailand votes in crucial test of stability

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand voted on Sunday in an election that will test whether one of Asia’s most promising nations can end a six-year crisis marked by bloody protests, military crackdowns and growing tensions between rich and poor.

Opinion polls give a clear lead to the opposition Puea Thai Party led by Yingluck Shinawatra over Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Democrat Party, but it was unclear if she could win by a big enough margin to form a new government.

Jul 3, 2011

Newsmaker: Thaksin’s sister shakes up Thai election

BANGKOK (Reuters) – With her telegenic good looks and powerful political support, Yingluck Shinawatra has shaken up Thailand’s first parliamentary election since a wave of political violence last year.

The 44-year-old businesswoman, sister of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has vaulted swiftly into front runner status in Sunday’s election for her Puea Thai party, tapping support in the rural north and northeast heartland where her brother remains a populist hero five years after he was toppled in a coup.

Jul 2, 2011

Thaksin’s sister shakes up Thai election

BANGKOK (Reuters) – With her telegenic good looks and powerful political support, Yingluck Shinawatra has shaken up Thailand’s first parliamentary election since a wave of political violence last year.

The 44-year-old businesswoman, sister of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has vaulted swiftly into front runner status in Sunday’s election for her Puea Thai party, tapping support in the rural north and northeast heartland where her brother remains a populist hero five years after he was toppled in a coup.

Jul 1, 2011

Thaksin looms large as Thai parties make final campaign push

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Big rallies in Bangkok marked a final push by candidates in a national election on Sunday aimed at resolving Thailand’s sometimes violent six-year political crisis but which many fear will only fuel more turbulence.

Opnion polls overwhelmingly favor the opposition Puea Thai (For Thais) party led by Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, figurehead of a red-shirted political movement of the rural and urban poor whose protests last year sparked a bloody military crackdown.

Jun 30, 2011

A “Thaksinomics” renaissance in Thailand

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Festive campaign posters across Thailand promise voters the world in Sunday’s election: free tablet PCs, wage increases, high-speed trains, tax cuts. The list goes on.

These could deliver a burst of consumer spending and investment but also fuel a host of problems — from higher debt to delays in economic reforms and an inflationary rise in the cost of business in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

Jun 30, 2011

Analysis: A “Thaksinomics” renaissance in Thailand

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Festive campaign posters across Thailand promise voters the world in Sunday’s election: free tablet PCs, wage increases, high-speed trains, tax cuts. The list goes on.

These could deliver a burst of consumer spending and investment but also fuel a host of problems — from higher debt to delays in economic reforms and an inflationary rise in the cost of business in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

Jun 27, 2011

At heart of Thai election, a fugitive rallies

SUAN MON, Thailand (Reuters) – Saffron-robed monks chanted and young women in silk sarongs stretched out their arms in traditional Thai dance moves, but the big event was the voice on a scratchy telephone line from another continent.

“Be prepared. Good things are about to come,” billionaire former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said from his Dubai mansion in a telephone call to a Buddhist temple where 38 communities declared their allegiance to Thaksin, formally becoming “Red Shirt Villages” in solidarity with the red-shirted movement that backs him.

Jun 23, 2011

Analysis: A debate over autonomy in Thailand’s restive south

YALA, Thailand (Reuters) – The motorcycle bomb burned the 27-year-old woman so badly her father only recognized her by a tattoo. She lost half her face and an arm in the attack by shadowy Muslim separatists in Thailand’s troubled deep south.

“The wound was awful. She must have suffered enormously,” said her father, Athorn Buakwan, a Buddhist farmer, as he held a framed photograph of his daughter and recalled his frantic search for her on the afternoon she was killed and 17 others were wounded in a market in the capital of Yala province.

Jun 14, 2011

Thai PM fears instability if opposition wins vote

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday Thailand’s election was a tight race but his party could still win despite opinion polls showing it falling behind, and he predicted a new wave of political instability if the opposition formed the next government.

In an interview with Reuters, he acknowledged his party was slipping behind in the race against the opposition Puea Thai Party led by Yingluck Shinawatra, 43-year-old sister of self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Jun 7, 2011

In Thailand’s ‘red shirt villages’, defiance ahead of elections

NONG HU LING, Thailand (Reuters) – Its brilliant green rice paddies, thatched-roof huts and overgrown jungle resemble most rural villages in northeast Thailand. But the red sign looming over a quiet dusty road in the community of Nong Hu Ling is something different.

“Red Shirt Village for Democracy,” it reads, proclaiming its allegiance to the red-shirted, anti-government movement whose protests paralysed Bangkok last year and sparked a bloody military crackdown that ended with 91 people killed and hundreds of activists arrested.

    • About Jason

      "As Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Jason Szep manages text, pictures and television news operations across 10 countries for Reuters. He has been a Reuters correspondent, bureau chief and editor since 1990 and won the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award in 2007. He is a Boston native and has had postings with Reuters in Toronto, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Boston and Bangkok. His assignments have ranged from Kabul and Islamabad to the U.S. presidential campaign trail during the 2008 election."
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