June 2, 2008 / 7:09 AM / 11 years ago

TIMELINE: Thailand's long-running political crisis

(Reuters) - A week of protests and minor scuffles between pro- and anti-government supporters in Bangkok has raised fears that the army may storm back into Thai politics after nearly three years of instability and a coup.

Here are some milestones since the protests that sparked the putsch in September 2006:

* April 2, 2006: Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra wins second term in national elections. His victory is undermined by an opposition boycott and weeks of mass street protests led by coalition group People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

* September 19: Military stages coup ten days after Thaksin heads overseas on tour. He goes into exile in London.

* October 1: Former army commander-in-chief Surayud Chulanont sworn in as interim prime minister. Thaksin steps down as Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party leader two days later.

* February 21, 2007: Somkid Jatusripitak, a former finance minister and architect of Thaksin’s pro-business policies, quits as economic adviser to interim government after six days.

* February 28: Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula quits, blaming cabinet infighting. Succeeded by Chalongphob Sussangkarn.

* March 26: Prosecutors charge Thaksin’s wife, Potjaman, her brother and secretary with tax evasion, in the first charges to emerge from an inquiry into alleged corruption under Thaksin.

* March 29: Surayud announces a general election in December.

* May 30: Constitutional Tribunal dissolves Thai Rak Thai for breaking election laws. Bans Thaksin and 110 other leading members of the party from politics for five years.

* August 20: Voters endorse new military-drafted constitution, the 18th in 75 years of on-off democracy.

* Oct 1: Coup leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin steps down as army chief to become a deputy prime minister in charge of internal security.

* Dec 23: Pro-Thaksin People Power Party (PPP) falls just short of outright majority in a general election.

* Jan 8, 2008: Thaksin’s wife, Potjaman, returns to Thailand after months of exile, to fight corruption charges.

* Jan 18: Supreme Court absolves PPP of election fraud. The next day PPP declares a coalition government with five small allies, agrees to let justice take course on Thaksin charges.

* Jan 22: Military council which ousted Thaksin disbands, and promises there will be no more coups.

* Jan 28: PPP leader Samak Sundaravej elected prime minister.

* Feb 6: New cabinet, packed with Thaksin allies, sworn in by King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

* Feb 28: Thaksin flies back to Bangkok after 18-months in exile, and is greeted by thousands of supporters.

* March 10: New charges filed against Thaksin over illegal use of lottery funds. He pleads not guilty two days later.

* March 24: Six-party ruling coalition bids to amend seven-month-old constitution to stop any disbanding of parties for breaking election laws. Anti-Thaksin groups criticize move.

* April 11: Election Commission rules members of two parties in ruling coalition are guilty of vote fraud; a verdict which could lead to disbanding of their parties. Public prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to take cases to court.

* May 25: About 20 people are injured in minor clashes between pro and anti-government demonstrators in Bangkok. A week of peaceful protests follow, led by the PAD which demands the government drop its bid to amend the constitution.

* May 30: Cabinet minister Jakrapob Penkair resigns over accusations he insulted King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in a move aimed at defusing political tensions. PAD vows to continue protests.

* May 31: In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Samak tells protesters to disperse or “the police will clear you out.” Samak later backs away from threat of force.

* June 2: Thai stock market falls two percent as investors worry about more political turbulence ahead.

Source: Reuters

Compiled by Bangkok bureau and Gillian Murdoch, Beijing Editorial Reference Unit, Editing by Darren Schuettler and Valerie Lee

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