Thaksin's Real Challenge

No one doubted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's party would win the country's general election on Feb. 6. The only question was by how much. The answer: by a landslide. Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party won a staggering 70% of the popular vote, securing 375-plus seats of the 500-seat parliament, and will be the first single-party government in Thailand's history. Voters overwhelmingly rejected opposition pleas to hand them enough seats to keep a check on a leader they claim to be an autocrat. Thaksin told reporters, "The result was not a big surprise."

The south of Thailand,...

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