Family Urges Thaksin to Return After New Government Forms

The Shinawatra family wishes for the ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, presently in exile, to delay his return to Thailand, as per a source’s disclosure.

In the lead up to the general elections on May 14, Thaksin, who departed Thailand to avoid a prison sentence, conveyed via a tweet his intention to come back before his 74th birthday on July 26th in order to take care of his grandchildren.

The proposed return was a topic of discussion at a recent family meeting that included Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra, Thaksin’s former spouse, Thaksin’s daughters, Pintongta along with her spouse, and Paetongtarn.

This family meeting, held at a hotel in Bangkok, occurred after Ms. Paetongtarn, a prime ministerial candidate for the Pheu Thai Party, announced at the Pheu Thai Party headquarters that her father is planning a return home next month and is prepared to confront the law.

Based on the source’s information, Thaksin is eager to come back, but the family has concerns about the timing and would like him to hold off his plans until the coalition government is established.

The source also noted that the family believes Ms. Paetongtarn might be rushing into her ambitions to serve as Prime Minister, and they suggest she should wait for another five years.

They perceive that at the age of 37, she lacks the maturity to deal with the political scenario, and there are other more suitable candidates, like Srettha Thavisin and Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat, the source elaborated.

“She is young and doesn’t have much experience. She entered politics because she wants to strengthen Pheu Thai. It’s better for her to take it step by step. She also told her father she has yet to gain more experience, and he gets it,” the source stated.

In the early hours of Wednesday, Ms. Paetongtarn informed the press about Thaksin’s intention to return to Thailand in July. However, he’s expected to weigh several elements before deciding on a specific date.

She mentioned that no plans had been coordinated through her, but he is speculated to be in contact with certain governmental bodies.

Ms. Paetongtarn affirmed that regardless of the governing party, Thaksin would face justice.

“The last time we talked, [his plan] was still July. His return is quite important. So, circumstances and timing will be taken into consideration,” she stated.

Thaksin was ousted by a military coup on Sept 19, 2006, during his stay abroad. Since then, except for a brief visit to Thailand in 2008, he has lived in self-imposed exile.

For the past 17 years, he has been declaring his intent to return. There are 18 instances of him discussing his comeback.

The earliest recorded mention of him contemplating a return was on March 30, 2009.

He communicated with red-shirt protesters in front of the Government House via a video call. “As soon as a first shot is fired at people, I’ll lead you to Bangkok,” he announced.

Three years later, during a call with red-shirt supporters gathered in Surin, he said, “If I go home, I’ll have to come back cool. And I’ll let you know later how to come back cool.”

Subsequent mentions of Thaksin’s potential return were documented from 2021 through this May.

On May 1, he tweeted about the birth of his newest grandchild, revealing that all seven were born after he had left the country.

On May 9, he expressed via a tweet his determination to return before July 26. “I am determined to return home by July before my (74th) birthday to care for my grandchildren.”

Throughout his time away, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions has handed him a combined sentence of 12 years for four cases.

These offenses range from power abuse in relation to the possession of state-owned land and misdeeds tied to the two- and three-digit lottery.

They also include misuse of position by approving bank loans to purchase equipment from a telecoms firm owned by his family and using frontmen to hold shares in that company, Shin Corp.