Former Democrat leader Bhichai dies aged 96

Former Democrat leader Bhichai dies aged 96

Bhichai Rattakul, in April 2018 (Photo: Post Today)
Bhichai Rattakul, in April 2018 (Photo: Post Today)

Bhichai Rattakul, former leader of the Democrat Party and former president of the National Assembly, died at Siriraj Hospital on Monday. He was 96.

His son Bhichit Rattakul, a former governor of Bangkok, said his father fell sick with lung cancer eight or nine months ago and had been admitted to hospital several times.

Two weeks ago he entered Siriraj Hospital. His children were at his bedside when he died there at 1.20pm on Monday.

Bhichai was born on Sept 19, 1926 into a Thai Chinese family. He graduated from Bangkok Christian College and from St Stephen's College in Hong Kong.

He was married to Khunying Jaruay Rattakul. They had two sons and one daughter - Mr Bhichit, who was Bangkok governor from 1996-2000, Anatchai Rattakull and Khunying Patchari Wongphaitoon.

Bhichai entered politics by joining the Democrat Party in 1958. He was elected a Bangkok MP in 1969 and re-elected in many subsequent elections. He was the fourth leader of the party, from 1982-1991.

He served as foreign minister in the government of MR Seni Pramoj in 1976.

He served as a deputy prime minister from 1983-1990 and again from 1997–2000, and was speaker of the House of Representatives and president of the National Assembly from June 30 to Nov 9, 2000.

Bhichai was world president of Rotary International from 2002-2003.

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