Abhisit Vejjajiva (äpēˈsĭt wāchäˈchēwä) [key], 1964–, Thai politician, prime minister of Thailand (2008–11), b. Newcastle, England. Born into a wealthy Thai-Chinese family, Abhisit was educated in England and Thailand and held several British and Thai university teaching posts prior to entering politics. In 1992 he joined Thailand's Democrat party and won a parliamentary seat. Deputy party leader from 1999, he ran unsuccessfully for the party leadership post in 2001 but was elected party leader four years later. A longstanding opponent of corruption, he objected to the 2006 coup that deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, his political opponent. In Dec., 2008, after two of Thaksin's allies had been removed as prime minister by court decisions, Abhisit and the opposition Democrats secured the opportunity to form a government. His government faced serious challenges in the streets from Thaksin supporters seeking to force him to resign, and it was defeated in the 2011 elections by Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin's sister, and the For Thais party. In 2012 Abhisit was charged with murder for the death of a protestor who had been shot by soldiers in 2010.
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