Government: Thai ex-prime minister Thaksin back from exile

Thai ex-prime minister Thaksin back from exile

Former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra waves to supporters at Don Mueng International Airport in Bangkok. photo

© Adryel Talamantes/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

The former Prime Minister of Thailand fled the country to avoid prison and lived in exile for 15 years. Now Thaksin Shinawatra is back in his homeland.

Former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra has returned to his homeland after 15 years in exile. A private jet with Thaksin on board landed at Don Mueang Airport in the capital Bangkok this morning, Thai media reported.

Thaksin faces several years in prison for bribery and corruption, for which he was sentenced in absentia in 2008. But political observers doubt the 74-year-old billionaire will spend much time behind bars. In Thailand, convicts over the age of 70 can apply for parole or a royal pardon.

Thaksin ousted in military coup

Thaksin’s return comes hours ahead of another parliamentary vote on the prime minister. The Pheu Thai party, which he supports, wants to take power with real estate magnate Srettha Thavisin as its candidate. To this end, Pheu Thai has formed an alliance with 11 parties, including those parties linked to the military, which it contested in May’s parliamentary elections. Pheu Thai had previously seceded from the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP), despite the latter winning the general election ahead of Pheu Thai.

Thaksin, who made his fortune in the telecoms industry, was elected prime minister in 2001. He was overthrown in a military coup in 2006. He was accused of corruption and abuse of power, as well as disrespect for the monarchy. In 2008 he fled the country into exile to avoid prison.


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