Yingluck enters 2013 a survivor

THAILAND - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has survived more than 15 months in office despite repeated attacks from critics and opposition politicians on her alleged ignorance, lack of political experience, and tendency to stay adrift of key issues.

For many observers she has a good chance of completing her four-year term, thanks to support from many experienced and influential politicians behind her.

A political novice, Yingluck contested her first election and won a seat in parliament in the July 3, 2011 ballot. Only 49 days earlier, she became the Pheu Thai Party's prime-ministerial candidate although she was not - and has never been - the party leader.

In her brother's shoes

Her most outstanding quality was being the youngest sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is considered the patriarch of Pheu Thai - his third political party after two previous ones were dissolved on court orders for electoral fraud.

Thaksin has been in self-exile overseas to avoid imprisonment at home over a corruption case.

Many politicians from the ruling-coalition parties, as well as senior bureaucrats, reportedly visited Thaksin for his backing before Cabinet reshuffles and changes in top bureaucratic positions.

Unlike her predecessors, including her ex-PM brother, who often had to tackle key political issues by themselves, Yingluck seems to have tried to distance herself from contentious issues since assuming office in August 2011. Indeed, critics say the prime minister has sought to be invisible politically.

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