December 26, 2003 by

Kriangsak Chomanan

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Categories: Politicians

kchomanan.jpgGen. Kriangsak Chomanan, the 15th prime minister of Thailand, died on Dec. 23 from a severe blood infection and kidney failure. He was 87.
Kriangsak graduated from Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, and took a job as a secretary-general to the prime minister’s advisory council. During the 1940s, he served as a platoon leader in the war against Indochina. He fought in the Korean War, Vietnam and Laos, reached the rank of general in 1973 and was named army chief of staff a year later.
Kriangsak was working as the supreme commander of the military in 1977 when he helped overthrow the government during a bloodless coup. For the next three years, he served as the country’s prime minister, establishing ties with Russia and China, expanding the Don Muang airport and approving the building of the Din Daeng-Bang Na-Tha Rua expressway. He issued amnesty for 18 members of a left-wing student organization, and for former members of the Communist Party of Thailand.
In an effort to restore a parliamentary democracy, Kriangsak set up a more mixed civilian and military government. This last move proved to be his undoing. He lost the military’s support then ran into fierce public opposition when he increased prices for electricity and petrol. Protests were held in the streets of Bangkok and the parliament passed a no-confidence motion against him. Kriangsak was the country’s first and only prime minister to officially resign from office.
Determined to remain in the political arena, Kriangsak formed the National Democratic Party and was elected to parliament. Then on Sept. 9, 1985, he and several military friends were arrested for plotting an abortive coup against the Prem Tinsulanonda government. Kriangsak and the other retired generals went on trial in 1987, but were later amnestied.

One Response to Kriangsak Chomanan

  1. Harold Hatch

    I am proud to have served in SEATO Headquarters from August 1958 through October 1962. Colonel (then) was Thailand’s Military Advisers Rep. I and my wife Mary have fond memories of General Kriang.

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