Key recent events leading to Sunday's general election in Thailand:
February 2001: Telecommunications mogul Thaksin Shinawatra becomes prime minister after his party sweeps to victory in polls.
February 2005: Thaksin is re-elected in a landslide.
February 2006: Rallies led by the People's Alliance for Democracy _ popularly known as the "Yellow Shirts" _ accuse Thaksin of corruption and abuse of power. Thaksin dissolves Parliament and calls elections.
April 2006: Thaksin's party wins majority but the opposition boycotts and the ballot is later nullified by the courts.
September 2006: The military stages a bloodless coup toppling Thaksin while he is overseas.
December 2007: The People's Power Party, a proxy for Thaksin's disbanded party, easily wins elections and later chooses Samak Sundaravej as prime minister.
May 2008: The Yellow Shirts launch protests against Samak, accusing him of being Thaksin's puppet.
August 2008: Thousands of Yellow Shirts take over the prime minister's office compound.
September 2008: Samak is removed from office after a court rules his appearance on a TV cooking show constituted a conflict of interest. Parliament elects Somchai Wongsawat as his successor, but protesters say Somchai is also Thaksin's puppet.
November 2008: Anti-Thaksin protesters take over Bangkok's two airports, stranding hundreds of thousands of travelers.
December 2008: Protesters vacate the airports and the prime minister's office after a court finds Somchai's party guilty of electoral fraud and dissolves it. With the backing of the military, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva is chosen prime minister.
April 2009: Pro-Thaksin "Red Shirt" demonstrators swarm a regional summit in Pattaya, forcing its cancellation as Asian leaders are hurriedly evacuated. Several days later, demonstrators riot in Bangkok, leaving two people dead before the army restores order.
February 2010: Supreme Court rules that Thaksin abused his position as prime minister for personal gain, and orders that $1.4 billion of his family's assets already frozen in Thai accounts be confiscated.
March 2010: "Red Shirt" protesters, calling themselves "have-nots" and "commoners," pour into Bangkok in bid to drive Abhisit from power, kicking off mass anti-government protests that shut down parts of the city.
May 2010: Army crackdown disperses protesters and authorities arrest protest leaders. Final toll stands at more than 90 dead and around 1,800 wounded, mostly protesters.
May 9, 2011: Abhisit dissolves parliament and calls elections for July 3, about six months before the end of his term.
May 16, 2011: Pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai Party names Thaksin's youngest sister, businesswoman Yingluck Shinawatra, as its de facto candidate to become the next prime minister.
July 3, 2011: Scheduled general election.