Thaksin Shinawatra (26 July 1949 - 20 March 2012?) was the President of Siam and Secretary-General of the Siamese Communist Party from October 20, 2001 until his overthrow and arrest on February 24, 2012 by anti-communists in the Siamese military, many of whom he had himself appointed. He is currently presumed dead, due to unconfirmed reports of his attempted escape from house arrests along with several fellow party officials on March 20, fueling speculation that he was assassinated or executed summarily by Siamese soldiers. His sister, former Deputy President Yingluck Shinawatra, is currently in exile in an unknown location and is wanted by the Siamese military government.
Prior to becoming President, Shinawatra was a longtime Communist agitator and populist leader, becoming a senior party official in the 1980's and emerging as a key figure in the 1990's resistance against French occupation. He served in a variety of posts during the tumultuous late 1990's before securing election as President in 2001, a time in which he rapidly appointed friends to important ministerial assignments and elevated party officials to a decadent lifestyle far removed from Marxist norms. He endured protests, uprisings and a sustained guerrilla movement in rural Siam during his tenure, culminating with his overthrow by generals he regarded as allies in 2012. His strategy of appointing non-communist generals to persecute non-communists has been cited as a major factor in his government's collapse. Unlike the success of Vietnam in liberalizing it's economy, Siam declined significantly under Shinawatra's reign.