Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will find a way to return to Thailand by himself and won’t need any help from the Pheu Thai Party, says his daughter, who is being touted as a prime ministerial candidate in the coming election.
Paetongtarn “Ung Ing” Shinawatra made the comment at a pre-election campaign event in the northeastern province of Loei on Friday.
Thaksin said earlier that when he is ready to return home, he would let his daughter announce the date.
“He has not said when he will return home. He has been abroad for several years now. He may be thinking of how to return. I respect his decision as he said he does not want to get the party involved,” said Ms Paetongtarn, 36, whose official job description is chief adviser on public participation and innovation for Pheu Thai.
“I and the party will focus on election campaigns rather than trying to bring him back to Thailand.”
She also dismissed reports about a deal with the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) to bring Thaksin home.
On Tuesday night, Thaksin appeared in a ClubHouse session in which he allowed his fans to ask whatever they wanted to know.
When asked when he would return home, the 73-year-old firmly said he would come back soon. It’s a statement he has been making regularly for the past 14 years.
Referring to the conditions under which he might make his return, he said he would do so without having to wait for any parties to push to pass a new amnesty law for him.
Nor would he have to wait for the PPRP and Pheu Thai to form a political alliance to help him return home, he said.
Thaksin fled the country in 2008 shortly before being sentenced by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to two years in prison for abusing his power as prime minister by assisting his then-wife, Khunying Potjaman, in the purchase of a prime plot of land at a heavy discount.
“Ung Ing will be the one to announce when I will return to Thailand. No new [amnesty] law for me. No siding with Palang Pracharath either,” said Thaksin.
Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said on Friday that the party was ready to announce its three candidates for PM right away if the House of Representatives is dissolved.
Talk of a new amnesty for convicts in politically related cases has surfaced again in recent weeks. Some proponents say it could apply to everyone from the likes of Thaksin to the young people currently being detained in connection with more recent protest movements.
Parties may propose an amnesty bill if they like, but the debate would have to wait until the formation of a new parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said this week.
Asked if Thaksin could return to Thailand, Mr Wissanu said he must face legal proceedings upon his return.
Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Pheu Thai’s chief adviser on public participation and innovation, greets supporters in Loei on Friday. (Photo supplied)