Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
Yingluck Shinawatra is Thailand’s first female Prime Minister and the youngest sister of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Prior to becoming Prime Minister, she chaired the executive committee of SC Asset, the family’s property development company. Yingluck was also a director of the Thaicom Foundation, which supports underprivileged children in education.
Admits the challenges of domestic political and global economic conditions, Yingluck is working hard to move the country forward. The first year of her administration has proven that, with her proactive role in initiating concrete policies, she is able to lead the country out of crisis from a historic flood disaster while at the same time start the political reconciliation process. Her impressive business acumen, charisma and strong public mandate are also helping her to be successful.
Yingluck has established herself as a leader in her own right. She is now recognized and accepted as a leader of hope for the people, a leader with vision, and a leader who is elevating Thailand to a higher of recognition on the international stage.
Yingluck is a native of the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, where her family is well known for their role in politics and business. Her father Lert Shinawatra served as a member of the Chiang Mai Provincial Council and later as a national Member of Parliament. Her older brother Thaksin Shinawatra twice served as Prime Minister (2001-2005, 2005-2006).
Yingluck received a B.A. in Political Science and Public Administration from Chiang Mai University in 1988 and an M.A. in Public Administration from Kentucky State University in 1991. Following university, she started her career as a sales and marketing intern at family-owned Shinawatra Directories, a telephone directory business founded by AT&T International. Over time, she rose through the ranks to become director of procurement and director of operations. In 1994, she moved to become a general manager at Rainbow Media, a subsidiary of International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC).
Yingluck left Rainbow Media as Deputy CEO in 2002 to run the family’s telecom company, Advanced Info Services (AIS). Elder brother Thaksin started AIS as a computer rental business in 1986 and developed it into the country’s largest telecoms company. Later, she headed SC Asset, a real estate company with projects nationwide.
In May 2011, Yingluck stepped down as Chairperson of SC Asset and registered as Puea Thai’s number one party-list candidate for the July 3 election, putting her first
in line for the premiership. In the election, Puea Thai won a landslide victory, taking 265 of 500 seats. Within a week, Yingluck announced the formation of a new five-party coalition government headed by Puea Thai. A month later, on 5 August, the lower House of Parliament officially voted Yingluck into office as Thailand’s 28th and first female Prime Minister.
Yingluck is married to a businessman, Anusorn Amornchat, and has one son, Supasek Amornchat. Both have fully supported her to serve the country.She was born on 21 June, 1967.
Children’s and Women’s Welfare
This policy is consistent with the UN’s “Every Woman, Every Child” program. In fact, the UN recently opened an office in Thailand to promote the rights of women and underprivileged children here in Asia. Within ASEAN, Yingluck is actively promoting the development of women’s welfare, as the group prepares for the ASEAN Community in 2015. During her official visits to foreign countries, she makes it a priority to promote the rights of women and children, whether through her speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos or at the Ewha Woman’s University in the Republic of Korea.
Promoting the welfare of women and children is one of the key priorities of this government and an issue close to the heart of the Prime Minister. The Thai Women Development Fund, one of her many initiatives in this field, was established in February 2012. The Fund will provide 100 million baht (US$3.3 million) to 77 provinces, with the objective of supporting women’s participation in the national development process, ensuring the protection of women’s rights, improving legislation in addressing domestic violence, and increasing accessibility of women to education, funds, and healthcare.
Ensuring access to affordable and quality healthcare for all is another important priority of Prime Minister. The current government has carried on the 30 baht (US$1) universal healthcare program, an initiative started by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Yingluck is working to harmonize the healthcare system, which currently comprises several different coverage schemes. Her goal is to create equality in health care coverage for all patients. Furthermore, the program has recently been expanded to include coverage for kidney diseases and AIDS.
The 30 baht program ranks as the government’s most successful policy. In a poll by the National Institute for Development Administration, 84.79 percent of the public ranked the 30 baht program the highest, followed by financial support programs for the elderly (81.05 percent) and the 300 baht minimum daily wage (69.58 percent).
To promote more universal access to quality education for schoolchildren, Prime Minister Yingluck launched the One Tablet Per Child policy in 2012. The trial phase of this project began in the 2012 academic year and will be complemented by the development and installation of educational content and the expansion of free wireless Internet coverage for schools. The objective is to provide equal educational opportunities for students in Grade 1. 400,000 tablets were handed out to schoolchildren in August and another 465,000 will be handed out by the time the program is completed.
Prime Minister Yingluck has played an active role on the international stage since taking office, from improving relations with neighboring countries and advancing the ASEAN Community, to consolidating strategic partnerships with Thailand’s key partners and promoting closer cooperation on global issues in multilateral fora.
During her government’s first year in office, Yingluck has visited eighteen countries and participated in six regional and multilateral summits, as well as the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. She has also received numerous visits by foreign leaders to Thailand. International organizations and entities have praised her work and policy initiatives as the first female Prime Minister of Thailand. Forbes Magazine ranked her 30th on the World’s Most Powerful Women List 2012, acknowledging her policies like increasing the daily minimum wage, salary adjustments for holders of bachelor’s degrees and her commitment to bringing about national reconciliation.
Promoting genuine political reconciliation remains one of the top priority goals of the government since all Thais place great hope in achieving it. Through implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT ), adherence to rule of law, with an open minded and compassionate approach, the government has successfully moved political disputes from the streets to the halls of Parliament where dialogue and deliberation could continue in a constructive manner, under the constitutional framework.
Reinforcing Economic Fundamentals
The government welcomes the realization of the ASEAN Community in 2015. The integrated markets of more than 600 million people has the potential to become the driving force of the world economy. But at the same time, the government works to strengthen the resilience of the Thai economy in face of external challenges, the pursuing policies to strengthen domestic demand while reducing development and income gaps and raising people’s standards of living.
To enhance the country’s competitiveness, the government is investing some 100 billion U.S dollars in infrastructure development and water management projects that will ensure supply chain connectivity and protect industrial and agricultural zones. These policies should help Thailand become a logistics hub for the region that will help promote economic growth and sustainable development in Southeast Asia and beyond.