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Thai election

Military's unkept promise from 1992 looms over Thai elections

How a general's manipulation of the political process led to violence

Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon was able to bow out of politics in 1992 while ensuring he would not be held accountable for the loss of life that occurred on his watch. (Photo by Warisara Wuthikul)

BANGKOK -- As Thailand goes to the polls today, the long shadow of an earlier general election looms over the ballot boxes: In April 1992, a fresh, military-drafted constitution enabled then army chief Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon to become prime minister without having to face voters.

Suchinda's short-lived, 50-minister cabinet was the largest in Thai history. It brimmed with the kind of corrupt, scheming politicians that his coup in February 1991 was meant to remove.

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