Archive for the ‘Thaksin’ Category

Thailand’s Polical Turmoil Continues; King Fails To Appear

December 4, 2008

Thailand‘s revered king on Thursday failed to deliver his traditional birthday speech, dashing Thai hopes that the address would help resolve the country’s political paralysis and unify a divided nation.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who turns 81 on Friday, was unable to deliver the speech “because he was a little sick,” his son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, told dignitaries gathered at the Dusit Palace to hear the king. The comments were broadcast live on radio.

By VIJAY JOSHI and AMBIKA AHUJA, Associated Press Writers

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadaj  reviews the Royal Guards ... 
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadaj reviews the Royal Guards at the Royal Plaza Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand’s ailing king failed to deliver his traditional speech to the nation Thursday Dec. 4, 2008 on the eve of his 81st birthday because of ill health — a stunning development that is likely to deepen the country’s political paralysis.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

While the king is known to be unwell, he was not expected to miss such an important occasion. The news came as a shock in this Southeast Asian nation of 63 million people, who revere the king as a selfless humanitarian. Many people wear yellow, the king’s color, once a week as a mark of respect and affection for the beloved monarch.

“The king has said to thank (you) for the wishes given out of loyalty. He wants to return the good wishes. He wants everyone to have strong mental and physical health to perform their duties for the public,” Vajiralongkorn said.

Many Thais were eagerly awaiting the king’s speech, hoping to receive guidance on how Thailand can resolve its political crisis triggered by an anti-government group whose members seized two main airports for a week.

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Thai Government Brought Down!

December 2, 2008

After months of drama, standoff, protests and violence, a court dissolved Thailand‘s top three ruling parties for electoral fraud Tuesday and temporarily banned the prime minister from politics….


The Constitutional Court ruling set the stage for thousands of protesters to end their weeklong siege of the country’s two main airports, but also raised fears of retaliatory violence by a pro-government group that could sink the country deeper into crisis and cripple its economy.

By AMBIKA AHUJA, Associated Press Writer

In this Dec. 1, 2008 file photo, Thai Prime Minister Somchai ...
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, left, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand. Somchai says Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008 he has accepted a court ruling to step down because of electoral fraud committed by his political party. Somchai told reporters in the northern city of Chiang Mai the court’s verdict was ‘not a problem. I was not working for myself. Now I will be a full-time citizen.’ (AP Photo/Wichai Taprieu, File)

Members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, occupying Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi international airport, cheered and hugged after they heard news of the verdict.

“My heart is happy. My friends are very happy,” said Pailin Jampapong, a 41-year-old Bangkok housekeeper choking back tears as she jumped up and down.

Government spokesman Nattawut Sai-kau said Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and his six-party ruling coalition would step down.

“We will abide by the law. The coalition parties will meet together to plan for its next move soon,” he told The Associated Press.

He also said the government was postponing a regional summit in Thailand of Southeast Asian countries, from December to March.

Somchai had become increasingly isolated in recent weeks. Neither the army, a key player in Thai politics, nor the country’s much revered king had offered him firm backing. Since Wednesday, he and his Cabinet had been working out of the northern city of Chiang Mai, a government stronghold.

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Thai Court Disbands Ruling Party


A Thai court has ruled that PM Somchai Wongsawat must step down over election fraud, a ruling he has accepted.

His governing People Power Party and two of its coalition partners have been ordered to disband and the parties’ leaders have been barred from politics.

But it is unclear if the ruling ends a months-long political crisis, since other coalition MPs have vowed to form another government under a new name.

Earlier, an anti-government protester was killed at a Bangkok airport.

Local television reported that a grenade had been fired at Don Mueang airport, the capital’s domestic hub, which has been occupied by the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) since last week.

Government supporters later surround the constitutional court complex (2 December 2008)

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Thailand’s Thaksin Divorces for “Economic, Political” Reasons

November 15, 2008

Thailand‘s ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife have divorced after 32 years of marriage, his spokesman said Saturday.

Thai newspapers reported that Thaksin, who was in power from 2001 until he was toppled in a 2006 coup, finalised the separation from his wife Pojaman at the Thai consulate in Hong Kong on Friday.

The couple have been living in exile since August to avoid jail sentences in their homeland and last week had their British visas cancelled, leaving them searching for a new refuge.

 By Anusak Konglang, AFP

In this July 31, 2008 file photo, ousted Prime Minister Thaksin ... 
In this July 31, 2008 file photo, ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand and his wife Pojaman, left, arrive at criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand. Thaksin and Pojaman, who married in 1976, divorced at the Thai Consul General Office in Hong Kong on Friday, the English-language Nation and Bangkok Post newspapers reported.(AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File)

“I have had it confirmed by a credible person in his team that Thaksin and Pojaman have divorced. But I have no details,” Thaksin’s personal spokesman Phongthep Thepkanjana told AFP.

There was no immediate comment from the Thai consulate or from Hong Kong authorities.

Telecoms billionaire Thaksin announced the divorce at a dinner of MPs from Thailand’s ruling People Power Party in Hong Kong on Friday night, the Bangkok Post reported.

The cause of the divorce was not immediately clear, but Thai sources and media reports said it was more likely to be for legal or financial reasons than personal ones.

A source close to Thaksin’s family in Thailand confirmed the report but said that it would be a “divorce on paper” for practical or economic reasons.

“Thaksin and his wife remain very close and they are even closer since their problems began in Thailand,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

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Thailand: Britain Revokes Visa of Former PM Thaksin

November 8, 2008

Britain has revoked the visas of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, Thailand‘s foreign ministry told AFP Saturday, after they fled to the UK to escape corruption allegations.

The ministry confirmed the entry ban after an airline official said the British Embassy in Bangkok had emailed all airlines informing them not to allow the couple to board flights to Britain.


“We have received confirmation from the British authorities that they have revoked former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife’s visas, but they did not give any explanation,” deputy foreign ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdee told AFP.

Thaksin, ousted in a 2006 coup, fled to Britain in early August after his wife was convicted on tax evasion charges, saying he would not receive a fair trial in Thailand.

Thailand's deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (R) ... 
Thailand’s deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (R) and his wife Pojaman (L). Britain has revoked the visas of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, Thailand’s foreign ministry told AFP Saturday, after they fled to the UK to escape corruption allegations.(AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

He has since been sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for conflict of interest after helping his wife buy state-owned land when he was prime minister. Four other corruption cases are outstanding against him.

His exact whereabouts on Saturday were unknown, but local media reported he was travelling from China to the Philippines.

Embassy officials have refused to comment, but in the email to airlines, seen by AFP, Bangkok-based immigration liaison manager Andy Gray, from the UK Border Agency wrote:

“The United Kingdom Border Agency has revoked the UK visas held by the following Thai nationals: Thaksin ShinawatraPotjaman Shinawatra,” listing the pair’s passport numbers.

“The UK visas contained in the passports of the individuals listed above are no longer valid for travel. Airlines are advised not to carry these passengers to the UK,” the email said.

Thaksin’s Thailand-based spokesman said he could not confirm the ban.

“What I can verify is that Thaksin has not received any document from the British authorities concerning this issue…. But if it’s true Thaksin can clarify the matter,” said Phonthep Thepkanjana.

In October a British Home Office spokesman said Thaksin and his wife had applied for political asylum, but people close to Thaksin were later quoted in Thai media as saying that report was incorrect.

Thaksin’s critics in Thailand, supported by a group called the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), have occupied the grounds of the prime minister’s offices since August, accusing the current government of running the country on his behalf.

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Thailand: Thaksin phones up Bangkok rally

November 2, 2008

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has given an emotional address by phone to tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in Bangkok.


The rally was aimed at demonstrating the continuing popularity of Mr Thaksin, who has been living in exile since August after a court verdict.

He was convicted in absentia of breaking conflict of interest rules.

Supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra supporters shout slogans during ... 
Supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra supporters shout slogans during a rally at Bangkok’s Rajamanangala Stadium. The former Thai premier denounced his opponents in a telephone address to 90,000 loyal supporters that were packed into a sports stadium.(AFP/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Mr Thaksin accused his opponents of destroying democracy in order to keep him out of power.

Saturday’s rally was a well organised show of strength by the Thaksin camp, reminiscent of the slick campaigns that helped the former prime minister win three successive elections, the BBC’s Jonathan Head reports from the rally.

The aim, said the organisers, was to demonstrate popular support for the Thaksin-inspired government, at a time when it is under pressure to step down from the People’s Alliance for Democracy protest movement, which has been occupying the prime minister’s office since August.

‘Miss you all’

Dressed in a sea of red shirts, to distinguish them from their yellow-shirted opponents, many had travelled long distances to the rally from the north and north-east, where the government has its strongest following, but there were many from Bangkok as well.

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Thai ex-PM found guilty of corruption

October 21, 2008


Exiled Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been found guilty of corruption and sentenced to two years in prison by the Thai Supreme Court.

In a landmark ruling, he was found to have violated conflict of interest rules in helping his wife buy land from a state agency at a knock-down price.

Thaksin Shinawatra - 21/09/2008

Thaksin Shinawatra has been living in the UK

The couple fled to the UK in August, saying they would not get a fair trial.

The decision comes amid growing tension between the former leader’s supporters and his opponents.

The ruling is the first in a string of stalled and slow-moving cases against Thaksin, former owner and now honorary chairman of Manchester City Football Club, launched in the wake of the 2006 military coup.

The coup leaders claimed there had been massive corruption and abuse of power under Thaksin’s rule, and set up a special unit to investigate the business dealings of the former leader and his close associates.

His wife has already been convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to three years in jail but was acquitted by the Supreme Court in the current case.

Political tensions

The nine-member court ruled by five to four that Thaksin had violated the constitution in involving himself in the land deal.

“Thaksin had violated the article of the constitution on conflict of interest, as he was then prime minister and head of government who was supposed to work for the benefit of the public,” one judge said as he read the verdict.

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Thaksin pleads not guilty in Thai court

March 12, 2008
By AMBIKA AHUJA, Associated Press Writer 

BANGKOK, Thailand – Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra pleaded not guilty Wednesday before the Supreme Court in one of two criminal corruption cases against him.

More than 200 policemen with bomb detectors and five sniffer dogs were deployed around the court where some 400 of Thaksin’s supporters waited, many holding portraits of the former leader over their heads.

“The defendant pleaded not guilty….

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Thaksin Says Thailand Should Cut Interest Rates, Boost Spending

March 11, 2008

By Nipa Piboontanasawat and Haslinda Amin

March 11 (Bloomberg) — Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted as premier and banned from politics, said Thailand’s newly elected government must repair economic damage to the country caused by the military coup that unseated him in 2006.
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra greets journalists ... 
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra greets journalists as he arrives at his family-funded foundation headquarters in Bangkok March 11, 2008. Thaksin insisted in an interview with foreign correspondents he would not return to politics.REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang (THAILAND)

“We have to bring back confidence to Thailand after the coup,” Thaksin said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “It’s quite difficult, but the government has to try harder.”

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Thailand’s King Welcomes New Cabinet

February 6, 2008

February 6, 2008

Thailand’s king has sworn in a new cabinet packed with allies of Thaksin Shinawatra, the man the military ousted 16 months ago in a bloodless coup.

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra speaking to reporters in Hong Kong (25/12/07)
Mr Thaksin has lived in exile since the September 2006 coup
Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej speaks during a news conference at the Government House in Bangkok February 6, 2008. Thailand’s new cabinet, packed with supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was sworn in by King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Wednesday, marking the return of elected government after a 2006 coup.
REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang (THAILAND)

The powerful defence, interior, foreign affairs and finance portfolios were all given to lawmakers loyal to the former prime minister.
New PM Samak Sundaravej took on defence while Noppadon Pattama, Mr Thaksin’s legal adviser, became foreign minister.

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Thailand: Cabinet to be formed Wednesday

February 5, 2008

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Cracks have begun to appear in the relationship between Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, as Samak wants to have a bigger say in forming the Cabinet and hang on to his premiership over the next two to three years.

According to sources familiar with the development, Samak is now causing trouble for Thaksin because he wants to have his own way in running the government. Shortly after his appointment as prime minister, Samak decided to reshuffle the list of Cabinet members presented to him by all six coalition partners. He found several of the candidates to be unacceptable.

His interference in the formation of the Cabinet resulted in the removal of Chai Chidchob and Srimuang Charoensiri from the list of candidates for portfolios in the Office of the Prime Minister and Energy Ministry respectively. Chai is the father of Newin Chidchob from Buri Ram.

“Samak is now causing a lot of headaches for Thaksin and Newin,” said one political observer.

Political sources said Samak had reshuffled up to 12 positions in the Cabinet list presented to him.

Samak led the People Power Party, a reincarnation of Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai Party, to election victory. Thaksin is believed to have a great deal of influence in the PPP. The members of Samak’s Cabinet, including Samak himself, had earlier been looked upon as simply Thaksin’s nominees.

But Samak now wants to have his own way in forming the Cabinet and running the government. He gave an interview last week complaining that his Cabinet looked like “ugly ducklings”.

Later he explained that he would like Wuthiphong Chaisaeng to serve as deputy finance minister rather than Ranongrat Suwanchavi, the wife of Phairoj Suwanchavi. Samak has also brought in Sahas Banditkul, his long-time aide, to help him run the administration. Sahas is earmarked to serve as deputy prime minister.

Samak is expected to complete the Cabinet list for His Majesty’s endorsement on 6 Feb.

Samak’s intention to stay in office appears to run against the wishes of Thaksin, who does not mind an ugly-duckling Cabinet, according to political sources.

Sources say the ousted prime minister thinks the new government should last only for the short term – focusing on reforming the constitution or introducing amnesty legislation for the 111 former executives of the defunct Thai Rak Thai – before dissolving Parliament.

Political sources said Samak was willing to work on constitutional reform or amnesty legislation but only after he has been premier for the next two to three years – not six months.

Sources said Thaksin was so upset with Samak that he flew from Hong Kong back to London over the weekend.

Surapong Suebwonglee, who is expected to be finance minister, tried to play down the conflict in the Cabinet formation, saying there won’t be any rift among Cabinet members, particularly among the deputy prime ministers.

He said nobody had any objection to the arrival of Sahas as deputy prime minister, since Sahas will help Samak in the transport sector, which is one of Samak’s fortes. (The Nation/ ANN)

Thailand’s King Welcomes New Cabinet