Wiki BiographyAbhisit Vejjajiva (Thai: อภิสิทธิ์ เวชชาชีวะ; RTGS: Aphisit Wetchachiwa (Thai pronunciation); IPA: [ʔà.pʰí.sìt wêːt.tɕʰāː.tɕʰīː.wáʔ] About this sound pronunction ; born 3 August 1964) is a Thai politician who was the 27th Prime Minister of Thailand from 2008 to 2011 and is the current leader of the Democrat Party. As leader of the second largest party in the House of Representatives, he was also Leader of the Opposition – a position he held from December 2008 until his party's en masse resignation from the House on 8 December 2013. That same month, he was formally charged with murder resulting from a crackdown on demonstrators in 2010 that killed 90 people.Born in England, Abhisit attended Eton College and earned bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Oxford. He was elected to the Parliament of Thailand at age 27, and promoted to Democrat Party leader in 2005, after his predecessor resigned following the party's defeat in the 2005 general election.Abhisit was appointed Prime Minister of Thailand on 17 December 2008, after the Constitutional Court of Thailand removed Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat from office. At age 44, he was the country's youngest prime minister in more than 60 years.Abhisit became Premier at a time of global economic turmoil and rising domestic political tensions. As prime minister, he promoted a "People's Agenda," which focused primarily on policies affecting the living conditions of Thailand's rural and working class citizens. He administered two economic stimulus packages: a $40 billion, three-year infrastructure improvement plan, and a more than $3 billion program of cash subsidies and handouts. By 2010, the stock market and the value of the baht had rebounded to their highest levels since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Human Rights Watch called Abhisit "the most prolific censor in recent Thai history" and Freedom House downgraded Thailand's rating of media freedom to "not free." Abhisit also advocated for stronger anti-corruption measures, although several members of his Cabinet resigned due to corruption scandals and parts of his economic stimulus packages were criticized for instances of alleged corruption.Abhisit's government faced major protests in April 2009 and April–May 2010. The military's crackdowns on protesters left many dead. Abhisit launched a reconciliation plan to investigate the crackdown, but the work of the investigation commission was hampered by military and government agencies. The Thai Army clashed with Cambodian troops numerous times from 2009 to 2010 in the bloodiest fighting in over 2 decades. The South Thailand insurgency escalated during Abhisit's government, and reports of torture and human rights violations increased.Having resigned the party leadership after the defeat the Democrats suffered in the parliamentary elections of 2011, Abhisit was re-elected as leader at a party assembly.
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|Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom