|14th Prime Minister of Thailand|
October 8, 1976 – October 19, 1977
|Preceded by||Seni Pramoj|
|Succeeded by||Kriangsak Chomanan|
April 5, 1927 |
Thanin Kraivichien (born April 5, 1927 in Bangkok, Thai: ธานินทร์ กรัยวิเชียร RTGS: Thanin Kraiwichian, Thai pronunciation: [tʰaː.nin krai.wí.t͡ɕʰian]; first name also spelled "Tanin", last name "Kraivixien" or "Kraivichian") is a Thai lawyer and politician. He was the 14th prime minister of Thailand between 1976 and 1977. Since then, he has been a member of the Privy Council.
Family and education 
Thanin studied law at Thammasat University, graduating in 1948. He then went to the London School of Economics to continue with his studies in Law. He graduated in 1953 and in 1958 was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn. In Britain, he met the Dane Karen Anderson, whom he married. The couple has five children.
Public service and political career 
After he returned to Thailand in 1954, Thanin worked in the ministry of justice, becoming an associate judge. He rose quickly, finally becoming President of the Supreme Court of Thailand. Additionally, he taught law at the Thammasat and Chulalongkorn University and the Thai bar association. As an avocation, he published books that admonished of the dangers of communism.
After the democratic uprising against military dictatorship in 1973, Thanin was a member of the transitional legislative assembly appointed by the king. He became a member of the far-right anti-communist Nawaphon movement. He had a TV show in which he attacked communism, the students' movement and progressive politicians.
After the Thammasat University massacre of 6 October 1976, the democratically elected prime minister Seni Pramoj was toppled by a military coup led by Admiral Sangad Chaloryu. On 8 October 1976, King Bhumibol Adulyadej then appointed his favourite Thanin to be prime minister. Thanin insisted on selecting his cabinet himself and rejected most of the military junta's nominations. The military only occupied the positions of deputy prime minister and deputy minister of defence. Thanin's was the first Thai cabinet in which women held ministerial posts: Wimolsiri Chamnarnvej and Lursakdi Sampatisiri. Thanin was seen as honest and intelligent, but also as eminently ideological and politically extreme. After his taking office, he sent police special forces to notoriously liberal book shops, and ordered the confiscation and burning of 45,000 books, including works of Thomas More, George Orwell und Maxim Gorky.
He announced that Thailand could only return to democratic rule after 12 years. The parliament was dissolved and all political parties outlawed. Thanin's crackdown on trade unions, progressive students' and farmers' associations drove their activists into the underground structures of the Communist Party of Thailand. Instead of weakening the communists, it fuelled their armed struggle against the government.
In March 1977, a group of younger army officers with interest in political matters who called themselves the "Young Turks" tried to topple Thanin. However, the attempted coup failed. On 20 October 1977, Admiral Sangad Chaloryu again seized power and pressed Thanin to resign. The military command justified their intervention with Thanin's government having divided the country, having no public support, the economic situation having worsened and the population disagreeing with the long-term suspension of democracy. King Bhumibol immediately appointed Thanin to his Privy Council.
- Nelson Peagam (1976), "Judge picks up the reigns", Far Eastern Economic Review: 407
- Jim Glassman (1999), Thailand at the margins: State power, uneven development, and industrial transformation, University of Minnesota, p. 239
- Chris Baker; Pasuk Phongpaichit (2009), A History of Thailand (Second ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 192, ISBN 978-0521-767-682
- Elliott Kulick; Dick Wilson (1996), Time for Thailand: Profile of a New Success, Bangkok: White Lotus, p. 27
- Chris J. Dixon (1999), The Thai Economy: Uneven Development and Internationalisation, 98: Routledge
- Chai-Anan Samudavanija (1982), The Thai Young Turks, Singapur: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, p. 34
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