How to get a visa to Thailand?
1. Complete and sign an application.
2. Provide supporting documents, depending on the type of visa you apply for.
3. Have a passport that is at least six months valid, and photos.
4. Pay the visa fees.
These are normal procedures for foreigners applying for an entry visa to Thailand from abroad. Montenegro passport holders can handle the process at the Thai embassy in Hungary, as Thailand does not have an embassy in that country and assigns the one in Budapest to oversee Thai relations with the southeastern European country. Those possessing a Nicaraguan passport have to go to the Thai embassy in Mexico, which takes care of Thai affairs with the central American country.
One exception is Thaksin Shinawatra. He receives special treatment. The ex-prime minister, who also holds a Thai passport thanks to the generosity of Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, has only one special place to apply.
On his 63rd birthday on July 26, Thaksin said he never knew whether the Sisao Theves office would grant him a visa _ that is, to fulfil his wish to enter Thailand cleanly and smoothly (probably next year).
Until today, an application for him to get the visa looked difficult. The process seemed to be time-consuming. Thaksin earlier told his advocates that he could not wait that long but lately he appears to have had second thoughts.
It's not often that Thaksin goes into a "defensive mode". A pause has no place in his mind. That is not his style, as was proved when he was in the driver's seat before the coup makers hijacked his vehicle six years ago.
Now, with his sister Yingluck taking the wheel and the Pheu Thai Party comfortably driving the lower house, Thaksin had become upbeat about his earlier, not later, return home.
There should, he reasoned, be no stumbling block for Pheu Thai to carry out its political campaign promise to bring him back with dignity through the reconciliation process and charter amendment. The parliamentary process was supposed to be a done deal and simple because of the dominance of Pheu Thai in the House of Representatives and its alliances in parliament.
The problem is he was over-confident and underestimated the other side.
An unexpectedly large turnout by the People's Alliance for Democracy against the reconciliation bills was a bit of a surprise. The yellow shirts are somewhat down, but let's not forget they are far from out. They are now recovering from a political hangover after seeing Pheu Thai sweep the Democrat Party out of office in the election last year. The reconciliation efforts that are obviously intended to help Thaksin are acting like an energy drink, a pick-me-up, for the PAD. But it is not a full recovery, at least not yet.
Then came the Constitution Court which steered the charter change campaign into rough waters. The bill should have gone through the third reading and should have passed _ that is until the court put the brakes on it.
The charter change will go ahead, depending on which options suggested by the judges will be picked by the ruling party and its supporters. The court has sent a clear message that they cannot do anything they like and should not get carried away with their administrative and legislative power.
That is the same message being sent to the red shirts and Thaksin admirers by the People's Liberation Army for Democracy. This name was unheard of until they came out of nowhere to back the court which was being threatened by the UDD before the ruling.
They were in the capital early this month in small numbers. Their size did not matter; their presence did. The former cadres of the now defunct Communist Party of Thailand reminded Thaksin and his supporters that there are more than the yellow shirts and other colour-coded groups who are against them.
All lead to Thaksin having second thoughts about his supporters in Government House, the party and parliament rushing through the matter of his homecoming. Now it's a matter of concentrating on keeping Pheu Thai in government and Ms Yingluck as prime minister as long as possible. The chance will come some day, just as long as Pheu Thai and Ms Yingluck don't lose the ignition keys. It's better later than never.
Saritdet Marukatat is Editorial Pages Editor, Bangkok Post.
About the author
- Writer: Saritdet Marukatat
Position: Opinion-Editorial Pages Editor