Ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra returns to Thailand after 15 years in exile
Bangkok, Aug 22 (EFE).- Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, removed from power by a coup in 2006 and on whom several prison sentences are pending, returned to his country Tuesday after 15 years in self-imposed exile.
The politician arrived at Don Mueang airport, in the north of Bangkok, in a private plane that landed at about 9am (2:00 GMT) from Singapore.
Hundreds gathered in front of the private flight terminal of this capital airport to welcome the Thai, amid tight security measures at the venue.
Thaksin, accompanied by his children, briefly stepped out to greet his followers and lay a wreath in front of the portrait of King Vajiralongkorn, while escorted at all times by various officials. Police expect to arrest the former Prime Minister.
Thaksin, who left the country permanently in 2008 and was convicted in absentia of corruption and abuse of power, has accumulated sentences totaling at least 10 years in prison.
The veteran politician, considered the brain in the shadow of Pheu Thai – who dominated Thai politics in recent years and came second in the elections in May – will be taken to a police station and later to the Supreme Court for reading of the sentences, as announced the day before by police.
After legal proceedings, the 74-year-old Thai is expected to enter Bangkok Remand prison.
“I would like to request permission to return to live on Thai soil and share the air with my Thai brothers and sisters,” he posted Monday afternoon on social network X (formerly Twitter.)
Since the uprising that toppled Thaksin, Thailand has experienced deep political instability that has kept it in a loop of anti-government protests, periods of military-led dictatorial rule and lapses in democracy.
Thaksin’s return coincides with the political blockade the country is experiencing after the elections on May 14.
The return of the influential politician also comes before the Tuesday celebration of a parliamentary session in which Srettha Thaivisin, the candidate of the Pheu Thai party, is expected to be elected prime minister. Srettha is a former construction magnate who led the Pheu Thai ticket in the recent election.
To try to achieve power, Pheu Thai announced Monday the alliance with two formations linked to the military that carried out a coup in 2014 against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister, who also went into exile and won the 2011 elections at the head of the party.
“I wish you good luck, have a good trip back, may everything go well. And don’t forget to stay healthy. I don’t need to worry. I will be strong, patient and take care of myself even if I am abroad,” Yingluck said on Facebook where he posted a video of the farewell with his brother before getting on the plane. EFE