On September 19, 2006, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was overthrown by a military coup d' etat. This might have come as a surprise given that Thaksin's unprecedented election triumph in 2005 seemed to reflect his long-term domination of Thai politics. Soon after the election, however, Thaksin's power began to erode. Prolonged mass protests in Bangkok culminated in Thaksin dissolving parliament just a year later, and ordering new elections for April 2006. This article first sketches core events, including an unusual intervention by the king, and the assumption of a political role by the country's highest courts. It then places Thaksin in the political reform context, emphasizing that his project of expanding his personal power had superseded the intentions of the political engineering that had led to the constitution of 1997. The third part of the article contains a detailed analysis of the election and its results, thus providing an important backdrop for interpreting the outcome of the first post-coup election, envisaged for the beginning of 2008. This part was written with an eye on the elections that had been scheduled for October 2006, but were overtaken by the coup.