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U.S. Educated Yingluck Shinawatra to Become New PM of Thailand

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  • Yingluck Shinawatra
    (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom)
    Yingluck Shinawatra of the Puea Thai Party gestures with members of parliament moments before being elected as the country's 28th prime minister, in parliament in Bangkok August 5, 2011. Yingluck was elected Thailand's first female prime minister on Friday in a parliamentary vote just 11 weeks into a political career crafted from exile by her brother and former premier, Thaksin Shinawatra.
By Ivana Kvesic, Christian Post Reporter
August 5, 2011|6:27 pm

Thailand has sworn in its 28th prime minister, and for the first-time in the country’s history it is a woman.

Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra of the Puea Thai Party was elected to her post on Friday.

Yingluck has two degrees in politics, one coming from Kentucky State University, the other from a University in Thailand.

Although, Yingluck was raised in a highly political family, she has little experience in politics herself.

In her first press conference following the announcement of her election Yingluck stated, "My father was a politician, and so were my brothers, so I've known about politics since I was a kid."

A businesswoman by trade, Yingluck is also a mother, a wife, and the youngest sister to former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

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Yingluck's brother was overthrown in a military coup in 2006. He is currently in exile in Dubai.

Following her brother's ousting, Thailand has been in a state of political turmoil. Last year saw a height to that turmoil with Puea Party supporters known as "red shirt" protestors having taken to the streets in Thailand's capital of Bangkok.

Yingluck has expressed her desire to bring unity to the still politically divided country. One of her strategies involves only saying nice things about her political opponents.

The Bangkok post argues that although her post went smoothly through the Thai House of Representatives with a 296:3 vote, Yingluck faces several threats to her power including rising inflation, rising costs of living, and a border dispute with Cambodia.

Yingluck's ousted brother was friends with Cambodia's current PM, Hun Sen, and Sen has said that the election marked the start of a new "era of cooperation."

However, other political analysts argue that Yingluck's main challenge will be her ability to stay in power in a country where military coups are common place.

Since 1932 Thailand has had 18 military coups with only one prime minister having served a full term.

Yingluck is set to begin her post next week.

She has stated that she will use her "femininity to work fully" for her country.

Yingluck's election follows an emerging global trend of female leaders such as Germany's Angela Merkel, Liberia's Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and Croatia's Jadranka Kosor.

 

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