Key dates in Thailand's political history

Key dates in Thailand's political history
Thai soldiers stand guard at the Army Club where Thailand's army chief is holding a meeting with groups and organisations with a central role in the crisis in the country.

BANGKOK - The Thai army's announcement Thursday that it is seizing power is the latest episode in decades of political turbulence which have seen at least 18 other successful or attempted coups since 1932.

Here are some significant dates in the kingdom's troubled history.

June 24, 1932: King Prajadhipok falls in a bloodless coup. A constitutional monarchy and parliament are introduced.

December 1938: Military leader Luang Phibun Songkram becomes prime minister.

June 9, 1946: King Rama VIII dies under mysterious circumstances. His brother Bhumibol Adulyadej assumes the throne.

November 8, 1947: Another coup leads to Phibun's return to power, ushering in a new period of military rule that lasts until 1973.

October 14, 1973: Some 400,000 student-led protesters topple the military rulers, leading to a brief flowering of democracy.

October 6, 1976: A bloody crackdown on student protesters ends with the military returning to power.

March 1980: Moderate military ruler Prem Tinsulanond survives several coup attempts and opens politics to some popular participation.

July 1988: General Chatichai Choonhavan wins general elections and the country enters an economic boom.

February 1991: General Sunthorn Kongsompong stages a coup and topples Chatichai's civilian government. He sets up a junta, the so-called National Peace Keeping Council, to govern.

May 1992: Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters fill the streets of Bangkok demanding a return to civilian rule. Dozens are killed after junta member General Suchinda Kraprayoon assumes the prime minister's post without contesting elections. The king summons the generals and pro-democracy leaders to the palace, admonishes them and asks them to reconcile. The killings stop and Suchinda agrees to resign.

September 23, 1992: Democrats party leader Chuan Leekpai is voted prime minister, ending months of instability.

July 2, 1997: Thailand devalues the baht, triggering the Asian economic crisis.

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