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Critics rubbish Thaksin talks call

BANGKOK: Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s message calling for a dialogue between political foes is only an attempt to grab media attention and retain his support base, as his hope for a reconciliation with the regime has now been dashed, a government source said.

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 20 September 2018, 09:42AM

Thaksin in Dubai. ‘He knows full well that the NCPO will not accept a deal for reconciliation or to let him off the hook in court cases.’ Photo: thaksinofficial / Facebook

Thaksin in Dubai. ‘He knows full well that the NCPO will not accept a deal for reconciliation or to let him off the hook in court cases.’ Photo: thaksinofficial / Facebook

The source said Thaksin’s Facebook message on Tuesday (Sept 18) could be construed as nothing more but a bid to draw attention to himself as well as his younger sister ex-premier Yingluck Shinawatra.

As the general election, tentatively set for Feb 24, approaches, more pictures of the exiled siblings are expected to appear on social media, the source said.

This is a way to ensure they are not forgotten by the people and maintain contact with their loyal supporters without any actual request for reconciliation dialogue with the regime, the source said.

“This has been Thaksin’s style for the past 12 years. He knows full well that the NCPO will not accept a deal for reconciliation or to let him off the hook in court cases. That’s impossible.

“No amnesty has ever been given to those convicted of graft and anyone in power will not dare to sit down for talks with Thaksin on the matter,” the source said.

In a Facebook message marking the 12th anniversary of the Sept 19 military coup that toppled his government, Thaksin said it would be in the national interest if old foes entered into a dialogue with each other.

The exiled former leader looked back over the turbulent period, which also saw his sister toppled, and asked whether Thailand was really better off with regards to education, health care and the economy. He accused a small fraction of benefiting from the power shifts.

“In the past 12 years, there had been two coups, toppling two prime ministers who were siblings and the most popular prime ministers in Thai political history,” Thaksin wrote.

He concluded by saying that he forgave those who have wronged him.

But Democrat Party deputy leader Nipit Intarasombat said that while Thaksin posted that he forgave his political foes who did him wrong, the following day he tweeted a message taking a swipe at Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

Mr Nipit referred to Gen Prawit’s comments in response to Thaksin’s Facebook post.

Gen Prawit questioned who had actually caused turmoil in the country during the past 12 years and brushed aside Thaksin’s call for dialogue, saying Thaksin should clear his name first.

In response, Thaksin tweeted yesterday (Sept 19): “The look and the tone were so stern and scary, not as sweet and soft as when asking for an army chief post.”

This runs counter to his call for reconciliation, Mr Nipit said. “He said he forgave, but later the claws came out,” the Democrat deputy leader said.

Sukhum Nualsakul, a political analyst, said Thaksin’s message was a bid to maintain voter support for the Pheu Thai Party.

Thaksin, who is widely believed to be the party’s de facto leader, intended to tell voters to vote for Pheu Thai if they still support him, Mr Sukhum noted.

“I think he wants amnesty, so he came out and called for a dialogue. People may sympathise with him and think he only wants to forgive and forget, rather than resorting to violence,” Mr Sukhum said.

Titipol Phakdeewanich, dean of Ubon Ratchathani University’s political science faculty, said that Thaksin’s message is a signal that Pheu Thai is ready to accept any political deal.

Mr Titipol believed that Thaksin is wise enough to avoid calling for an amnesty because this would be met with strong resistance. The deal may only be intended to allow Pheu Thai to survive until after the general election and an elected government is formed.

“Thaksin’s latest move is not meant to drum up public support because his supporters feel he was just forced to go elsewhere. He still keeps in touch with local people through former MPs,” Mr Titipol said.

A Pheu Thai source said that Thaksin often used this tactic when he is pushed to call for a dialogue, even though the ‘other side’ had not yet given any signal to accept the proposal.

Thaksin fled the country in 2008 before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced him to two years for the 2003 purchase of state-owned land by his then-wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra.

Read original story here.



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