Exiled Thai ex-PM announces return amid political crisis

Bangkok, Jul 26 (EFE).- Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in self-exile to evade Thai justice, intends to return to the country next month, his family said Wednesday amid a strong political blockade after the May elections.

“Dad will return on Aug. 10 to Don Muang airport” in northern Bangkok, his daughter said his daughter Paetongtarn, a candidate for prime minister at the head of the Phue Thai party – which finished second in recent elections.

“The decision to come home is something dad has been seriously talking about since early 2022,” the daughter wrote on Instagram.

Although it is not the first time Thaksin – who ruled Thailand from 2001 until he was deposed in 2006 through a military coup when he was in New York participating in a United Nations assembly – announces his return to later change his mind.

The last time was earlier this month.

If he finally returns to the country, Thaksin, 74, who has lived in Dubai for the past decade, will face 10 years in prison after being convicted in absentia on multiple charges, which he says were politically motivated.

Our family “is happy and worried, but we always respect our father’s decisions,” the aspiring prime minister wrote.

The Phue Thai party, linked to the influential Shinawatra clan, is currently tasked with forming a government after parliament twice rejected the candidacy of progressive Move Forward party leader Pita Limjaroenrat, after his formation’s win a vendor at the polls led to a political blockade.

These two parties form a coalition together with six other platforms and have 312 seats out of the 500 members of the elected House of Representatives. However, they still need the support of other representatives or senators to achieve power.

Thailand’s constitution says the prime minister candidate needs an absolute majority in a vote between the 500 members of the elected parliamentary lower house and the 250 upper house members, handpicked in 2019 by the former military junta that drafted the charter.

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.

In the last coup, in 2014, the military overthrew the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister, who is also in self-exile and who won the 2011 elections at the head of Phue Thai. EFE


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