Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

THAILAND's RELATIONS WITH THE NEW ASEAN MEMBERS: Solving Problems and Creating Images

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

THAILAND's RELATIONS WITH THE NEW ASEAN MEMBERS: Solving Problems and Creating Images

Article excerpt

Chayachoke Chulasiriwongs

The second Chuan Leekpai government was defeated in the 2001 general election owing to its unpopularity by the end of its term. The government, which was first elected in late 1997, was at first hailed as a saviour as there was a strong expectation that with its "economic dream team" Thailand's economy would be revitalized following the economic crisis. In the three years since it came to power, the government has been found by the majority of the population to be incapable of reversing the critical plight of the country.

Although the outgoing government has proven to be unpopular, including Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai, who has been the object of considerable adverse media attention, this does not mean that the overall performance of the outgoing coalition government, led by Chuan's Democrat Party, was a total failure. For instance, while the government claimed an economic recovery of around 3-4 per cent in the year 2000, some business sectors actually fared better than others, depending on the extent of remedial measures introduced by the government.

Nevertheless, people in general still felt the "pinch" and considered the full commitment that the Chuan government had given to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a mere sell-out of the country to foreigners. …

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