Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series examining the record of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Part I reviews her domestic policy. Part II will examine her foreign policy.
Though often dismissed as the puppet of her exiled brother, Yingluck Shinawatra has survived several critical challenges since becoming Thailand’s first female prime minister in a landslide victory in July 2011 elections. Yet despite initial hopes for reform, the past year and a half have demonstrated that the Yingluck government’s ultimate goal is to maintain its grip on power, and that the successes of Yingluck and her Pheu Thai Party (PTP) do not necessarily mean progress on the democratic front.
Yingluck’s performance on justice and democracy, for example, has been disappointing on several levels. National reconciliation over the 2010 military crackdown on the so-called Red Shirt protesters, in which 98 people died, has progressed slowly. No one from the military or the previous government has been prosecuted for the violent suppression of the protests, and the Yingluck administration has made no concrete commitments except for monetary compensation for the families of those affected. Meanwhile, of the 1,019 protesters that were arrested during the crackdown, 20 still remain in prison.