Thai bill targets Thaksin Shinawatra return

 

Ap
Thursday 31 May 2012 09:06
Comments

Thailand's politics is heating up over a bill that could herald the return of divisive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, while his former top lieutenants prepare to re-enter the political arena after a five-year ban.

The party of current prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin's sister, hopes to introduce legislation in parliament today that is widely seen as a possible first step toward providing amnesty for her fugitive brother's convictions and allowing him to return unencumbered to Thailand.

Thaksin had been ousted by a 2006 military coup after being accused of abuse of power and disrespect to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

His party was dissolved by a legal decision the year after, and he was among the 111 executives of his Thai Rak Thai Party banned from politics for five years. He also was convicted in absentia of corruption while in self-imposed exile.

The prospect of Thaksin's return has galvanised his opponents inside and outside parliament, threatening to reopen political wounds from a six-year struggle between Thaksin's opponents and supporters.

It comes the day after Thaksin opponents in the Yellow Shirt movement, from the People's Alliance for Democracy, were back on the streets in one of their largest demonstrations in recent months.

They oppose a government-backed reconciliation bill to grant amnesty to all parties involved in political violence and wrongdoing from the end of 2005 through to mid-2010, a period when Thailand was wracked by turmoil and street protests.

Yellow Shirts' protests in 2006 set the stage for the coup, and in 2008 they occupied the prime minister's offices for three months and Bangkok's two airports for a week to pressure two pro-Thaksin prime ministers out of office.

The street protests this week were peaceful, but the scene was different in parliament, where police had to keep order as the opposition Democrat Party sought to derail efforts to schedule debate on the bill.

At one point, a female Democrat MP dragged the House speaker's empty chair off the podium, sparking a scuffle with government members of parliament.

Thaksin's opponents sought to purge his influence after the coup, launching investigations of his finances and using other measures to try to cripple his political machine, which he built using a fortune made in telecommunications.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in