Thaksin: No plans to mobilise red-shirts

Thaksin: No plans to mobilise red-shirts

SEOUL — Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Tuesday he had no plans to mobilise his "red-shirt" supporters and push his son Panthongtae to be the Pheu Thai Party’s new leader.

This handout photo released by The Chosunilbo shows Thaksin speaking at the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul on May 19, 2015. (AFP/The Chosunilbo photo)

"No, we want to see the government be a success, but it's difficult, as you can imagine," Thaksin said on the sidelines of the 6th Asian Leadership Conference, when asked if there were any plans to rally his United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship supporters.

Thaksin also said there was no plan for his son, Panthongtae ''Oak" Shinawatra to take over leadership of Pueu Thai.

The former prime minister called the first year of the government which came to power in a coup "not so impressive".

"They have to work harder. They have to understand the world, and the mentality of the people who have been in democracy for many years," he said.

"I think democracy will prevail sooner or later, but we have to be patient, and we have to be peaceful," Thaksin added "Don't resort to any kind of violence."

In his speech to the conference, Thaksin told Asian governments the "rule of law" was key to democracy. "The key to good governance and democracy is you have to strike a balance" between the judicial, legislative and executive branches, he said.

"And also you have to observe the rule of law, which is a very important asset for each country to be credible."

Thaksin has kept a low profile since the military's takeover in May last year.

Opponents accuse the Shinawatras of cronyism, corruption and financially ruinous populist policies. But they are loved in the nation's rural northern half for populist policies that tapped into changing social and economic demands, such as the rice subsidy, virtually free healthcare and grants for university places.

"In every country there (are) two different societies, always: the rich and the poor, those who have opportunities and (those with) less opportunities," he added.

"We need to eradicate poverty, especially in emerging countries in order to let people choose the good politicians and keep a good democracy."

His comments did not specifically reference Thailand but are nonetheless likely to chime with his red-shirt supporters.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on May 12 that he was not worried about Thaksin's public appearance or whatever comments he might make.

With bases in Dubai and London, Thaksin travels frequently in Asia.

His rare speech came on the same day that his sister Yingluck went to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to hear the charges of dereliction of duty and abuse of authority in managing the loss-ridden rice-pledging scheme. 

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