Drop Thaksin focus, Pheu Thai warned

Drop Thaksin focus, Pheu Thai warned

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (screenshot)
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (screenshot)

The Pheu Thai Party should focus on mustering enough support for its bid to form a new government rather than bringing former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra back home, said Assoc Prof Phichai Ratanatilaka Na Bhuket, an academic with the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida).

Drumming up as much support as possible for Srettha Thavisin, who is expected to be nominated for a new prime ministerial vote on Friday, should be Pheu Thai's priority, Assoc Prof Phichai said.

However, if Pheu Thai's candidate can't secure enough votes, the party should return the right to lead the bloc to the Move Forward Party (MFP), he said.

The so-called old powers -- political parties in the caretaker government and their allies -- are pressuring Pheu Thai into ditching the MFP after earlier seeming reluctant to engage in talks with parties outside their alliance, he said.

The change of tack follows a statement made by Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Thaksin's daughter, that her father planned to return to Thailand on Aug 10, said Assoc Prof Phichai.

Rumours have also swirled that Pheu Thai and its red-shirt supporters have united with their opponents, yellow-shirt supporters of the caretaker government, in a new deal reached to prevent the MFP from succeeding in taking office after the party won the May 14 election with the highest number of House seats, said Assoc Prof Phichai.

A secret deal reportedly reached as part of the bid to help Thaksin return to Thailand has abruptly been aborted, dashing the hopes of those who expected to see Thaksin return as he had vowed to, Assoc Prof Phichai said.

Jatuporn Prompan, former chairman of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said he did not believe Thaksin would return on Aug 10 because if he did, he would be put in jail instead of enjoying the privilege of winning a royal pardon on the day he arrives.

Mr Jatuporn said the instant pardon hope -- where Thaksin is allowed to go home -- was "highly unlikely" to become a reality.

"If he doesn't show up at 10.30am on Aug 10 as claimed, let me find another excuse for him. Maybe he is sick this time," said Mr Jatuporn.

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