Archa

Banharn Silpa-Archa

Banharn Silpa-Archa (บรรหาร ศิลปอาชา, 馬德祥; born 19 August 1932) was the 21st Prime Minister of Thailand, from 13 July 1995 to 24 November 1996. He has been a veteran Sino-Thai Member of Parliament since 1976 as the elected representative of Suphanburi province. Since then, he has enjoyed unchallenged domination in Suphanburi. In every election he participated, he won by a landslide victory, receiving on average 60 to 90 per cent of the votes cast. Since 1994, he has been the leader of the opposition, Chart Thai Party, one of the oldest parties in Thailand. Between 1995 and 1996, he was the Prime Minister. Throughout this seemingly versatile career, however, Banharn has been involved in numerous corruption scandals one of which diminished the concordance in his administration and caused him to resign. Many Thais call him all sorts of pejorative names, such as ‘Mr ATM’, portraying him as a politician who dispenses dirty money under the table to anyone who needs it. His short-lived yet highly inept administration is also believed to have paved the way for the economic crisis of 1997.

Born in Suphanburi Province, he is a Thai Chinese, with ancestry from Chaoyang. His first name, Archa is the translation of Chinese surname Ma (馬). On January 21, 2008, Banharn held a press conference in which he officially announced the merging of his Chart Thai party with TRT's nominee party PPP. Because he had earlier vowed before the Emerald Buddha never to rejoin Thaksin because of the his corruption scandals, Banharn has been given a new nickname - "Slippery Eel."

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