Ex-PM Thaksin fears Thai junta plans to cling on to power

  • AseanPlus News
  • Friday, 11 Mar 2016

NEW YORK:The Thai military junta wants to cling on to power as long as possible, the country’s fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said in an interview in New York, not ruling out a return to politics.

The telecoms tycoon, who was toppled in a 2006 coup and now lives in self-exile overseas, said he “wished” he could go home but would consider a return only if it would “benefit the country and the people.”

In May 2014, Thailand’s generals deposed the government of Thaksin’s younger sister Yingluck and are now redrafting the constitution, although the junta chief has vowed to hold elections in 2017.

Thaksin said he did “not believe” the election’s promise and heavily criticised the junta, who say a new constitution is necessary to curtail corruption.

“If we look at their behaviour, it is as if they would like to stay as long as possible,” he said in an interview at a New York hotel, when asked how long he thought the military would hold onto power.

The former prime minister repeatedly expressed concerns about the future of Thailand if the new constitution is adopted.

The junta justified its power grab as a bid to restore order and protect the monarchy, headed by the revered but frail 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Parties led by or aligned to the Shinawatras have won every election since 2001, and they are loved in the nation’s rural north for their populist policies. — AFP

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