Former Thai Prime Minister Shinawatra Confirms Return To Thailand From Exile On August 10

BANGKOK (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 27th July, 2023) Telecommunications mogul and former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and fled abroad, confirmed his return to the country on Thursday after more than 17 years in exile.

On Tuesday, Shinawatra's daughter announced her father's planned return to the country on August 10.

"I am celebrating my birthday today and will make the last donation (to a Buddhist temple) abroad. On August 10, just a few days from now, I will come home," Shinawatra said during a video conference with members of the Pheu Thai Party, which was formed by his supporters in 2008.

He added that he wanted to return in the coming days, but decided to delay it until after national celebrations of the Thai king's birthday and the start of an annual Buddhist fast.

"I would like to thank all our brothers and sisters across the country for their loyalty to the party, which they have maintained all these years, and for their votes for the Pheu Thai Party in the (parliamentary) elections (of 2023). I wish you all happiness and prosperity. I believe, that with the government, led by the Pheu Thai Party, the country's economy will improve quickly," the former prime minister said.

The last 18 years of Thai history have been marked by unprecedented political discord and confrontation between supporters and opponents of the former prime minister and the Shinawatra political family in general. During this period, military coups overthrew two governments formed by members of the Shinawatra political clan. Mass protests from 2007-2014 led to numerous clashes and bloodshed. The Pheu Thai Party was the main opposition party in the previous convening of the Thai parliament. Now, after winning the 2023 parliamentary elections, it is one of the two parties forming the government.

Shinawatra served as Thai prime minister from 2001-2006. He was ousted in a military coup on September 19, 2006, and barred from political activity as his government faced allegations of corruption, authoritarianism and muzzling of the press. He was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail for abuse of power and has been living in self-imposed exile. As of 2009, Shinawatra was reportedly living in Dubai and investing in gold mines, diamond polishing and lottery licenses in various countries. The former prime minister has said on multiple occasions that he was ready to return to Thailand to raise his grandchildren, despite the threat of imprisonment.