Khuang Aphaiwong

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Khuang Aphaiwong

Khuang Aphaiwong ( Thai ควง อภัย วงศ์ , also: Kuang Abhayawongse or Kuang Aphayawong , born  May 17, 1902 in Battambang ( Cambodia ); †  March 15, 1968 ) was a Thai politician. He was Prime Minister of Thailand four times between 1944 and 1948 and founding chairman of the Democratic Party in 1946 .


Khuang was born in Battambang, in present-day Cambodia, and was the son of Chao Phraya Aphayaphubet (Chum Aphaiwong) (Thai: เจ้าพระยา อภัย ภูเบศ ร์ (ชุ่ม อภัย วงศ์) ), the governor of Battambang Province, which was part of Siam at the time , and Khunying Rod Aphaiwong. He later married Lekha Kunadilok (Goone-Tilleke), the daughter of the Ceylon- born attorney William Alfred Tilleke, the founder of Tilleke & Gibbins, the oldest law firm in Siam.

Education and career

Khuang (right) with Thawan Thamrongnawasawat when the Thai Press Association was founded in 1941.

Khuang received his education at the Debsirin School (Thai: โรงเรียน เทพศิรินทร์ ) and at Assumption College in Bangkok . He continued his education in Lyon , where he studied engineering at the École Centrale de Lyon .

After returning to Thailand, he worked in the telegraph department as assistant chief engineer. In the course of time he took on other duties and was eventually appointed director of the telegraph department. The king gave him the feudal honorary name Luang Kowit-aphaiwong ( หลวง โกวิท อภัย วงศ์ ).

In 1932 he was a member of the civil wing of the “ People's Party ”, which achieved the transition of the country from absolute to constitutional monarchy by means of a coup . He became a minister during the Phraya Phahon Phonphayuhasena and Phibunsongkhram (Phibun) governments. During the Franco-Thai War in 1941 he enlisted in the Royal Guard and received the rank of major . In this capacity, he announced on the spot the reconnection of the provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap , which were occupied in the Franco-Thai War, and whose recovery had been a central point of Siamese irredentism since 1907. His father had ruled there as governor.

Prime Minister and Opposition

On August 1, 1944, parliament elected him Prime Minister after it had rejected the laws introduced by Phibun to elevate Petchabun to the capital and to establish Phutthamonthon Park. Khuang was a compromise candidate as he stood between the Phibun camp and the opposition Seri Thai movement . He was able to work both on the face of the Japanese and behind the scenes with the Allies. After the defeat of the Japanese and the end of their de facto occupation of Thailand, Khuang resigned on August 31, 1945 to pave the way for a government of the Seri Thai movement under the leadership of Thawi Bunyaket or Seni Pramoj . His greatest success was the state of peace between Thailand and the USA and Great Britain . This enabled much improved diplomatic relations with the Allies.

Khuang was one of the founders of the liberal-conservative Democratic Party of Thailand and its first chairman in 1946 . On January 6, 1946, the party won numerous votes in a landslide election success that helped Khuang to a second term. After two months he resigned due to a conflict with parliament.

After the military coup in 1947 , the coup group installed Khuang as prime minister. Their leader, Field Marshal Phibunsongkhram , did not appear to be able to be placed by the victorious powers at the time, after taking sides with the Japanese during the Second World War. However, the coup group dropped Khuang after the pro-military party's disappointing performance in the elections. On April 8, 1948, they forced him to resign under threat of violence in order to enable Phibun to renew his term in office.

Khuang Aphaiwong died on March 15, 1968 at the age of 66.

See also : Thai nobility titles

Individual evidence

  1. a b Short biography ( Memento from April 21, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (English)
  2. Songsri Foran: Thai-British-American relations during World War II and the immediate postwar period, from 1940 to 1946. Thai Khadi Research Institute, Thammasat University, 1981, p. 83.
  3. PL; A New Border in Asia; XXth century (Shanghai), Vol. I (1941)

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