2Bangkok.com picks the top stories of 2005 - December 29, 2005
While some stories appear as screaming headlines and points of controversy for a week and then are forgotten, others have lasting impact and lead to other controversies. This year's top stories largely chart the misery of the TRT party in the first year after its historic election win.
3. The convoluted plan to remove Jaruvan as auditor-general continued to simmer (A tale of two newspapers: Jaruvan relieved, June 28, 2005) until the replacement nominee had to be clumsily withdrawn (Visut's nomination withdrawn, The Nation, September 23, 2005) further cheering government critics and piercing the invulnerability of TRT.
4. In April, the CTX scanner scandal broke (No illegal airport deal, Suriya says, The Nation, April 26,2005) which eventually led to...
5. A cabinet reshuffle with Suriya out as Transport Minister (Reactions to the cabinet in the press - August 4, 2005, Thai press reaction to the new cabinet from Thairath, Khaosod, Matichon and Manager: 'haew and bourbok selling out' - August 6, 2005).
6. Despite some earlier bad luck for the government, a first major event that brought out protesters and condemnation beyond the political parties was the attempt to takeover the Bangkok Post and Matichon. This action was widely believed to be on behalf of the Prime Minister as a way to control major newspapers.
7. In September, with Phongsak Raktaphongsephaisarn (Minister Pheng) as new Transport Minister, news started to dribble out that many of the mass transit routes promised during the election campaign were being cancelled or modified. This story was much bigger in the Thai-language media and internet with furious denunciations of TRT. Eventually the transport minister was forced to reinstate the lines with cabinet approval although the timelines remain vague. Mass transit woes continued with...
9. Late in the year, Manager newspaper founder Sondhi Limthongkul mounted a serious challenge to the ruling party. In September, Sondhi's Thailand Weekly was removed from television for its anti-government rhetoric (Notes on canceling Muang Thai Rai Sapdah - September 17, 2005). Then for many weeks, Sondhi performed his show live at various venues as a kind of protest.
10. Stories questioning the state of the economy were quite prominent in the Thai-language world. Backtracking on mass transit projects, studies on public indebtedness, and peculiar bond issues fueled persistent rumors that the government is broke and that Thailand is in store for another 1997 economic slump. All this has led to...
11. The disgruntlement of TRT factions which revealed TRT to be a kind of coalition government within one party held together by promises of money, good times, and constitutional strictures that make it difficult for politicians to jump parties.
12. Simmering in the background are the continuing problems in the deep south and
13. Flooding... Do not underestimate floods as an issue that can disgruntle the Thai electorate.
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