Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thaksin to return if Pheu Thai wins

Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will return to Thailand if the opposition Pheu Thai Party wins a landslide election victory and forms a one-party government, according to a satellite-based television station run by his family.

If Pheu Thai forms a government, legislation to grant amnesty to people banned from politics will be "urgently tabled and reconciliatory bids will be streamlined", Voice TV quoted a party source as saying.

Thaksin, whose government was overthrown in the 2006 military coup, is on the run from a prison sentence for conflict of interest. He said the Supreme Court ruling against him was "politically motivated" and backed a signature campaign by his supporters seeking a royal pardon.

In a video-link address to a meeting of Pheu Thai MPs on Wednesday, the former leader offered to spearhead the party's election strategies from overseas and introduce fresh populist campaigns to win decisive votes so that the country is ruled by a one-party government, Voice TV quoted the source as saying.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Thaksin told Pheu Thai MPs to maintain the party's "close and constant relations" with the red shirts, as they were the party's major supporters.

Thaksin also suggested that the Pheu Thai leadership field some red-shirt activists as its election candidates in constituencies where the party cannot find one of its own, according to the source.

Meanwhile, in his latest Twitter posts, Thaksin called for a sincere commitment by the government to bring about reconciliation, urging Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to look after the people instead of playing political games.

In his tweets posted on the Thaksinlive website, the ex-prime minister drew on the effort of the Chilean government to rescue 33 miners, saying it was a lesson Abhisit should emulate.

"I congratulate the Chilean government for its successful rescue of mine workers; its care for people's lives reflects the true spirit of democracy and has won respect from around the world," he said.

He said what happened in Chile - which he saw as a truly democratic country - was in sharp contrast to Thailand, which was mired in dictatorial rule and plagued by an uncaring attitude towards the plight of the people.

He said he brought up the Chilean experience to remind Thai leaders that they were obligated to take care of their citizens.

"The Chilean leader acted and saved his people's lives without any political intent," he said.

He urged Abhisit to lead with his heart to bring about national unity and reconciliation instead of viewing everything as a game.

But he said he sympathised with Abhisit for being a target of assassination because he too had been such a target when he was in power.

He denounced all forms of violence regardless of who was involved. The Nation, Bangkok

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