Abhisit Vejjajiva ( pronunciation (help·info), Thai: อภิสิทธิ์ เวชชาชีวะ, RTGS: Aphisit Wetchachiwa, IPA: , born 3 August 1964) is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Thailand. He has been the leader of the Democrat Party since February 2005. Abhisit successfully ran for MP in Bangkok under the Democrat Party following the 1991 NPKC military coup. Abhisit quickly rose through party ranks but failed in a bid to become party leader in 2001. He became party leader after the Party's overwhelming defeat in the 2005 elections.
During the 2005-2006 Thai political crisis, Abhisit called for King Bhumibol Adulyadej to bypass constitutional procedure and replace Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Under Abhisit's leadership, senior Democrat Party members accused Thaksin of what they called the Finland Plot, a supposed plan to overthrow the monarchy and establish a republic. Abhisit boycotted the 2006 elections, claiming that they "diverted public attention" from Thaksin's sale of Shin Corp. Abhisit voiced displeasure at the 2006 coup that overthrew Thaksin, but otherwise did not protest it or the military junta that ruled Thailand for over a year. A fact-finding panel at the Attorney-General's Office found that the Democrat Party bribed other parties to boycott the 2006 elections to force a constitutional crisis, and voted to dissolve the party. A junta tribunal acquitted Abhisit and the Democrats of the vote fraud charges, while banning Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party for similar charges. Abhisit supported the junta's 2007 Constitution, calling it an improvement on the 1997 Constitution. The Democrat Party lost the junta-administered 2007 election to the People's Power Party.
In the crisis that followed, several senior Democrat Party members became leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy, which seized Government House, Don Muang Airport, and Suvarnabhumi Airport, while engaging in violent clashes with police and anti-PAD protesters. The PAD declared that the only person they would accept as Premier was Abhisit. Abhisit voiced displeasure at sieges, but did not stop his deputies from their roles in the PAD. The sieges ended when the Constitutional Court banned the People's Power Party. Army commander and co-leader of the 2006 coup, General Anupong Paochinda, allegedly coerced several PPP MPs, including those from the Friends of Newin Group, to defect to the Democrat Party allowing Abhisit to be elected Prime Minister.