Thailand's economic populism

The big risk may be Thaksin himself, if he becomes too autocratic.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was elected in 2001 on a strongly populist economic platform. The Thaksin government's populist policies have succeeded in producing rapid economic growth. The only factor that could derail Thailand's economy is the remote risk of social instability.

Replicating the leftward political shift that has swept over Latin America in the past several years, Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai TRT party won a landslide victory in Thailand's 2001 general election. The electorate's strong disaffection with Chuan Leekpai's pro-IMF economic policies were instrumental to Thaksin's victory.

Thaksin capitalized on this disaffection by campaigning on a populist platform that included reversal of several key IMF policies....

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