PUBLISHED : 5 Aug 2023 at 10:23
Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Saturday he was postponing his return from self-exile, as Thailand struggles to overcome a political deadlock after the May 14 general election won by opponents of military rule.
Thaksin, a former telecoms tycoon, spent years trying to resist military interference in governments led by his populist party and was eventually ousted in a 2006 coup.
Thaksin posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that he needed a medical check up and would delay his return, originally planned for Aug 10, by a couple of weeks.
“I want to postpone the return date to Thailand from (Aug 10) until not more than two weeks. I will inform the date and time again. A doctor calls me to undergo health check-ups.”
On Thursday, Pheu Thai Party deputy leader Phumtham Wechayachai insisted that Thaksin’s planned return to his home country remained unchanged, denying rumours of his delayed return.
However, another Pheu Thai source said on Thursday that Thaksin’s planned return will be postponed until a Pheu Thai-led government is formed.
The decision was taken to ensure his return goes smoothly. The source said Thaksin decided to delay his return upon hearing the prime ministerial vote scheduled for Friday was put off, pending a Constitutional Court decision on whether or not Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s renomination as a prime ministerial candidate in the second parliamentary vote was constitutional.
On Thaksin’s 74th birthday on July 26, his daughter Paetongtarn “Ung Ing” Shinawatra, also a prime ministerial candidate of Pheu Thai, announced on Instagram that her father, who is widely believed to be Pheu Thai’s de facto leader, is set to arrive at Don Mueang airport on Aug 10.
Whistleblowers, including Chuvit Kamolvisit and Jatuporn Prompan, said they did not believe Thaksin will return to Thailand next week to face prison time.
The fugitive former prime minister has been living in self-imposed exile since being overthrown by a military coup on Sept 19, 2006.