Pridi Phanomyong

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Pridi Phanomyong


Born May 11, 1900, in Ayutthaya. Politician and statesman of Siam (Thailand). Received a legal education.

Pridi Phanomyong lived in France during the 1920’s. Upon returning to Siam in 1926 he taught at the law school in Bangkok and served in the Department for the Drafting of Laws. He founded the People’s Party, which advocated the introduction of a constitution in Siam and played a leading role in the revolutionary coup of 1932.

Pridi Phanomyong drafted a plan of socioeconomic reforms that, if adopted, would have aided the transition of Siam to a noncapitalist path of development. In March 1933, however, the plan was defeated in parliament by right-wing deputies, and Pridi was exiled. He returned in 1934 and in that same year became minister of the interior. From 1935 to 1938 he served as minister of foreign affairs, and from 1938 to 1942 he was minister of finance. During World War II he was one of the organizers and leaders of the anti-Japanese Free Thai liberation movement. From March to August 1946, Pridi Phanomyong served as prime minister and minister of finance. After the coup d’etat of 1947 he left the country.

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He argues that where the Philippines has statues of a pantheon of national political heroes, Japan has relegated them to T-shirts, while Thailand has only local statues for its prominent political figures of all stripes and reputations, whether Prime Minister Phahon Phonphayuhasena, who retired having offended no one; Prime Minister Pridi Bhanomyong who, accused of communism, died in exile; Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram, accused of Fascism; or police chief and army general Phao Sriyanon, accused of corruption.
4) Pridi Bhanomyong was leader of the civilian faction in the 1932 uprising where Phibun was leader of the military faction.