On July 3, Yingluck Shinawatra was elected Thailand’s first female prime minister in a landslide victory. Shinawatra is the sister of the exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown in a coup that sent the country into weeks of violence and disarray in 2006.
To some, Yingluck’s election is a double victory — she’s the first female leader of the country — and her party is known for its strong alliances with Thailand’s working class and poor. Yet Thaksin has described her as his “clone,” and many assume that she’s just a puppet…with Thaksin still “running” the country from exile in Dubai. Yingluck had no previous political experience before joining the race this year. Does this make her election as a woman less meaningful?