. S. Suryanarayana
SINGAPORE: Thailand’s military-deposed leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, now a “fugitive” in self-imposed exile, has said he could return home on the basis only of either “the King’s mercy” or the “power of the people.”
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, deeply venerated by the Thais, is a Constitutional monarch, whose occasional counselling has helped resolve the country’s political crises in the past. “People’s power” is the rallying call of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, whose embattled coalition functions under a Constitution that was imposed by the coup-masters who toppled Mr. Thaksin in September 2006. And, Mr. Somchai is the second successive pro-Thaksin leader to have become Prime Minister in less than a year since the military held a “democracy-restoring election.” In the late-night phone-in address on Saturday, Mr. Thaksin called for a total reform of the military-crafted Constitution as well. He rallied supporters via a satellite link-up. But the event organisers, United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship, did not specify where he called from. The phone-in talk was followed by a pre-recorded video-address by him. And, the “massive” turnout of his supporters at a huge sports stadium in Bangkok was interpreted by the organisers as a political message to the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy to end their prolonged campaign.
The timing of Mr. Thaksin’s address was related to his conviction, in absentia, in a “conflict of interest case” that dated back to his tenure as Premier and the alleged nepotism concerning his wife in a land deal.
6 months ago