Chadchart's win omen of 'democracy', says Thaksin
Chadchart Sittipunt's landslide win to become Bangkok governor was the product of strategic voting by pro-democracy supporters and will be repeated in the next general election, according to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Some voters wanted to vote for the candidate of Move Forward, the second-largest opposition party, but decided instead to cast their ballots for Mr Chadchart who they thought had a better chance of winning, Thaksin said in an interview on The Room 44 website on Sunday.
The votes for Mr Chadchart were not manufactured, he said. Rather, they were enticed to back the independent candidate in the same way pro-government voters were urged to vote strategically for candidates on their side of the divide, the fugitive former premier noted.
Thaksin, who fled the country in 2008 before his conviction by the Supreme Court in the Ratchadaphisek land case, said he believed the Pheu Thai Party would be handed a landslide victory in the next polls if Sunday's voting pattern was repeated.
Mr Chadchart was a former transport minister under the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.
In the same interview, Thaksin said he was pleasantly surprised at how fast his youngest daughter, the 35-year-old Paetongtarn Shinawatra, has adapted to politics.
Ms Paetongtarn is thought to currently be being groomed by the party for prime ministerial candidacy next time round
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, the coup makers and powerful figures in the coalition government, should consider stepping down before the country hosts Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in November, following the poor showing, Thaksin said.
Thaksin reiterated that he planned to return to Thailand "when the time is right", but declined to say if a law should be enacted to give an amnesty to people criminally charged or convicted after assuming political office as he could be a beneficiary.
"Let the government and the military talk this over and decide," he said.