To understand the populist government under Thaksin, one must go beyond seeing it as a reaction to the economic crisis of 1997. Thaksin now is not what he set out to be earlier, because he is subject to the social forces operating under globalisation. Thaksin patrimonial populism has developed in response to social demand. To understand this, one must look at social forces and how they are politicised under the present-day globalisation. This phemomenon is not unique to Thailand. Other Asian and Latin American countries have similar experiences. This paper will also discuss the opposition to this populism and its frailty.
After the presentation of the above, Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker will analyse the results of the February 6, 2005 Thai general elections.