Home > International News > Former Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej dies

Former Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej dies


Mr Samak

One of Thailand’s most colourful politicians, Samak Sundaravej, has died in Bangkok after a long battle with cancerMr Samak, who was 74, briefly held the post of prime minister in 2008, a period dogged by street protests.

It was the unlikely issue of a cookery programme that ultimately led to his political downfall. Mr Samak’s premiership came during a political crisis following the 2006 coup which deposed Thaksin Shinawatra.

Sharp tongued, a passionate royalist and prone to explosive rants, Samak Sundaravej was a colourful character on Thailand’s political stage.

Varied past

His career spanned four decades, including cabinet posts in several governments, both military and civilian, and a stint as the governor of Bangkok. But it was Mr Samak’s short lived tenure as prime minister for which he will probably be best remembered.

He led a coalition government made up largely of supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra, the fugitive former prime minister, who was ousted in a coup in 2006. Mr Samak found himself the new focus of anti-Thaksin sentiment. Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets to demand his resignation.

But Mr Samak hung on – until, that is, he took part in a television cookery show which he had often presented in the past. A court ruled that since Mr Samak had accepted money for the appearance whilst serving as prime minister, he was guilty of a conflict of interest.

Nine months after coming to power, Mr Samak was forced to step down – an ignominious end to a roller-coaster political career.

Source: BBC

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