Thaksin's return has nothing to do with politics, says daughter Paetongtarn

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's daughter Paetongtarn "Ing" Shinawatra has announced that he will return to Bangkok on Tuesday (Aug 22). - AP

BANGKOK (Bernama): Thailand’s self-exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s return to the kingdom was not politically motivated, daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra said.

The 74-year-old Thaksin is expected to return to Thailand on Tuesday, the same day a joint sitting of the bicameral legislature will vote for new prime minister that could end a political deadlock.

Paetongtarn who is also one of Pheu Thai Party’s three prime ministerial candidates said it was Thaksin's decision to return to take care of his grandchildren after leaving the country for more than 15 years.

"Father’s return has nothing to do with politics.

"He will arrive at the Don Mueang International Airport on a private jet at 9 am (local time) with the family waiting to welcome him. He may have to immediately go to the court.” she said.

When asked whether Thaksin had applied for a royal pardon, Paetongtarn said "not yet”.

Thaksin, who served as prime minister from 2001 to 2006, has been living in exile since 2008 spending most of his time in Dubai after his government was ousted in a military coup led by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin.

He fled Thailand in August 2008 to avoid facing time in prison for several criminal cases. He faces up to 10 years in jail for his convictions by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions in three separate cases.

He could still be jailed for more than a decade if he returns to Thailand.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said Thaksin will be treated like any other fugitive convict upon landing on Thai soil.

"Officials will meet the former premier at Don Mueang Airport and escort him to the Department of Corrections. He will then be put behind bars at Klong Prem Central Prison,” Wisannu said, quoted by the Nation.

Wissanu said Thaksin is eligible to apply for a royal pardon, but the application must be submitted by him or a member of his family. If his application is rejected, he will have to wait two years before reapplying.

Meanwhile, director-general of the Corrections Department, Aryut Sinthoppan said Thaksin will be provided with extra security and adequate amenities while he is held in the Bangkok Remand Prison.

He said Thaksin should be given extra security because he is at greater risk than other inmates.

"However, Thaksin should be provided with appropriate amenities, but not to the point that they could be seen as a privilege,” he said.

Tuesday is the third parliamentary vote for prime minister, coming amid prolonged political uncertainty after the May 14 General Election. The Thaksin-backed Pheu Thai Party will nominate real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin to be prime minister.

Pheu Thai Party, which came second in the May 14 general election with 141 seats abandoned MFP early this month and is now forming and leading a coalition including military-backed United Thai Nation (UTN) and Bhumjaithai Party, a member of the outgoing government, in an attempt to break the political impasse to form a new government.

The coalition now has a total of 274 seats in the 500-member House of Representatives.- Bernama

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