Khuang Aphaiwong

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Major
Khuang Aphaiwong
ควง อภัยวงศ์
Khuang Aphaiwong.jpg
4th
Prime Minister of Thailand
In office
August 1, 1944 – August 31, 1945
Monarch Ananda Mahidol
Preceded by Plaek Phibunsongkhram
Succeeded by Tawee Boonyaket
In office
January 31, 1946 – March 24, 1946
Preceded by Seni Pramoj
Succeeded by Pridi Banomyong
In office
November 10, 1947 – April 8, 1948
Monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej
Preceded by Thawan Thamrongnawasawat
Succeeded by Plaek Phibunsongkhram
Personal details
Born (1902-05-17)May 17, 1902
Phra Tabong Province, Thailand, (Now Battambang, Cambodia)
Died March 15, 1968(1968-03-15) (aged 65)
Nationality Thai
Political party Democrat Party
Spouse(s) Lekha Kunadilok

Khuang Aphaiwong (17 May 1902 - 15 March 1968; Thai: ควง อภัยวงศ์, also spelled Kuang, Abhaiwong, or Abhaiwongse; was three times the prime minister of Thailand: from August 1944 to 1945, from January to May 1946, and from November 1947 to April 1948.

Life and career[edit]

Khuang was born in Battambang (now in Cambodia), a son of the Siamese governor Chao Phraya Abhayabhubet. The Aphaiwongs were of royal Khmer lineage.[1] Khuang attended Debsirin School and Assumption College, Bangkok, later studying engineering at the Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France. On his return to Thailand, he worked in the telegraph department, finally becoming director of the department. This earned him the feudal title Luang Kowit-aphaiwong. He married Lekha Kunadilok (Goone-Tilleke), daughter of Ceylon-born lawyer William Alfred Goone-Tilleke, founder of the law firm Tilleke & Gibbins.[2]

Promoter of regime change and minister[edit]

Khuang was a member of the civil faction of Khana Ratsadon ("People's Party"), the group that promoted the Siamese revolution of 1932, that brought a regime change from absolute to constitutional monarchy. Afterwards, he served as minister without portfolio in the cabinets of Phraya Phahon Phonphayuhasena and Plaek Phibunsongkhram (Phibun). During World War II he was commissioned a major and joined the King's Guard. As such he was at the head of the mission to Battambang which in July 1941 took control of the Cambodian territories occupied during the Franco-Thai War, to be renamed Phra Tabong Province. His father had been governor of part of this region before it was ceded to France 1907.[3] Later he became minister of commerce and communications.

First term as Prime Minister[edit]

On 1 August 1944, the Parliament elected him Prime Minister, after Phibun's plans to move the capital to Phetchabun and to create the Phutthamonthon park failed to get enough approval. He was a compromise candidate, standing between the Phibun supporters and the oppositional Free Thai Movement.[4] Ostensibly he co-operated with the Japanese who had factually occupied Thailand during the war. At the same time, he shielded the Free Thai who actively collaborated with the advancing Allies.[5] After the Japanese retreat he resigned on 31 August 1945, to make way for a new administration by the Free Thai forces.[6]

Second term as Prime Minister[edit]

In 1946 he was one of the founders of the conservative Democrat Party, and became its first leader. The fourth national elections on 6 January 1946 were won by the Democratic Party, which gained him a second term as prime minister starting on 31 January. Only 45 days later, on 24 March, his government lost a vote of no-confidence in parliament and he resigned.

Third term as Prime Minister and late life[edit]

He became prime minister a third time on 10 November 1947 following a coup d'état led by Field Marshal Phin Chunhawan. However, the coup leaders were not pleased with the performance of Khuang's government and forced him to resign on 8 April 1948. This also ensured Phibun to become Prime Minister again. Khuang continued in politics as the opposition leader and leader of the Democratic Party until all political parties were banned in 1958. His wife, Khunying Lekha Aphaiwong, was appointed Senator in 1949, becoming one of the first female politicians of Thailand.[7]

Khuang died on 15 March 1968, at age 66.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goscha (1999), p. 42
  2. ^ Songsri Foran (1981), Thai-British-American relations during World War II and the immediate postwar period, 1940-1946, Thai Khadi Research Institute, Thammasat University, p. 83 
  3. ^ P. L.; A New Border in Asia; XXth century (Shanghai), Vol. I (1941)
  4. ^ Thak Chaloemtiarana (2007). Thailand: The Politics of Despotic Paternalism. p. 16. 
  5. ^ David K. Wyatt (2004). Thailand: A Short History (Second ed.). Silkworm Books. p. 249. 
  6. ^ Wyatt (2004). Thailand. p. 251. 
  7. ^ Nicholas Grossman (ed.). "Wife of cabinet minister elected first female MP". Chronicle of Thailand: Headline News Since 1946. p. 43. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Goscha, Christopher E., Thailand and the Southeast Asian Networks of The Vietnamese Revolution, 1885-1954, Routledge, 1999, ISBN 0700706224
Preceded by
Plaek Phibunsongkhram
Prime Minister of Thailand
1944–1945
Succeeded by
Tawee Boonyaket
Preceded by
Seni Pramoj
Prime Minister of Thailand
1946
Succeeded by
Pridi Phanomyong
Preceded by
Thawan Thamrongnawasawat
Prime Minister of Thailand
1947–1948
Succeeded by
Plaek Phibunsongkhram