an example of regime change

REGIME CHANGE. The GNAD doesn't tag as "regime change" a situation where the president/ruler steps aside but continues to rule from behind the scenes, sometimes through the new head of state. It does, however, tag as regime change a situation where the ruler loses both the office and commanding power, even though the oligarchy that supported the ruler remains intact. People power brought down the dictators of El Salvador and Guatemala in 1944; in Guatemala a sufficient power shift occurred to open the way for democratic elections, while in El Salvador oligarchical influence entered the temporary power vacuum and set up a new dictator. Both, in the GNAD, are tagged as "regime change," the better to call attention to such comparisons for study and strategy.

Polish shipyard workers' initiate regime change, 1970-71


In the face of a stagnating post-war economy, Polish Communist leader Władysław Gomułka, the First Secretary of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR), decided to end government subsidies for food and other everyday items in late 1970. Although the system of fixed, artificially low food prices kept urban discontent in check, it was unsustainable, absorbing approximately one third of the budget.

Thai students overthrow military Thanom regime, 1973


Student activism in Thailand had grown during the 1960s as the number of students in university increased rapidly. In 1971, the Thanom Kittikachorn government launched a coup and restored authoritarian rule by disbanding the national legislature, terminating the 1968 constitution, and proclaiming martial law. On 15 December 1972, a new constitution was established that gave Prime Minister Thanom and his National Executive Council extensive power, but promised to return the country to democracy as soon as the communist threat was eliminated.

Philippine citizens overthrow President Joseph Estrada (People Power II), 2001


In 1992, Joseph E Estrada ran for Vice President on the National People’s Coalition ticket. Although the party’s presidential candidate, Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., lost the election to Fidel Ramos, Estrada won the vice presidential contest. He served as Vice President for 6 years leading the Anti-Crime Commission and was also responsible for a number of high-profile crime arrests in the Philippines.

Urban Thais overthrow Prime Minister Thaksin, Thailand, 2005-2006


In 2001, Thaksin Shinawatra was elected the Prime Minister of Thailand and was the first one to serve a full term in that role. In March 2005, Thaksin was reelected in a landslide victory, with more than 60% of the popular vote. As the leader of the Thai Rak Thai (TRT, Thais love Thais) party, Thaksin’s neo-liberalist, populist policies made him very popular with the majority of Thais, especially the rural poor. However, his autocratic style, numerous human rights violations and favor towards privatization created opposition from urban elites, NGOs, and royalist

Pakistani students, workers, and peasants bring down a dictator, 1968-1969


During the fall of 1968, Ayub Khan celebrated his tenth year as president of Pakistan. In honor of this anniversary, he declared his reign as the “Decade of Development,” an action that sparked an outbreak of protests against the state.

Much of Pakistan was already discontent with the Ayub regime. Following the 1965 war with India, Pakistan experienced a huge economic gap. The working classes faced the burden of this disparity.

Ecuadorians oust President Gutiérrez (Rebellion of the Forajidos), 2005


Retired Colonel Lucio Gutiérrez won the 2002 presidential elections in Ecuador after emerging as a popular ally of the poor during the years following a 2000 coup d’etat. A series of decisions followed his becoming president that increased the country’s International Monetary Fund debt and approved exploitation of oil on indigenous land.

Bangladeshis bring down Ershad regime, 1987-1990


After becoming independent from Pakistan in 1971, Bangladesh had a long history of military rule. Its first two leaders, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman were both assassinated in military coups and their regimes were followed by military dictatorships. The two main Bangladeshi political parties, the Awami League (AL) and the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) were formed by these two leaders and later led by their daughter and widow respectively – Hasina Wajed and Khaleda Zia. In 1982, General Hussain Muhammed Ershad seized power in Bangladesh during a bloodless coup.

Bulgarians force further democratic reforms, 1997


In 1989, Bulgaria was part of the "wave" of nonviolent revolts against domination by the Soviet Union and its Communist-led governments in Eastern Europe (see Bulgarians campaign for democratic reforms and multi-party rule, 1989-90).

South Korean students force dictator to resign, new elections, 1960


In South Korea, President Rhee Syngman of the Liberal Party won the March 1960 election with 88.7% of the votes. This implausible result was the result of election fraud: the day of the election the Liberal Party had stuffed ballots, switched ballots, and removed opposition ballots. On the eve of balloting, the police had also fired upon a group of Democratic Party supporters, killing eight. South Koreans in the city of Masan protested against the fraudulent election.

Bolivians successfully oust military regime, 1982


Bolivia’s transition to a democratic government began in 1978 when then military dictator Hugo Banzer Suarez stepped down after international and internal pressure for Bolivia to hold democratic elections. While the Democratic Popular Union (Unidad Democratica y Popular, UDP), led by Hernan Siles Zuazo, won the 1978 elections, Juan Pereda Asbum, Banzer’s chosen successor, launched a military coup and declared the elections invalid.

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