On Friday, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin refuted claims that he had stated he would appoint former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as an advisor.
However, he did mention that he is open to counsel from all previous Prime Ministers if it is advantageous for the nation.
This clarification by Srettha pertains to comments he made during a conversation with Bloomberg Television in New York on Thursday.
Various media outlets construed his remarks as suggesting that Thaksin might assume an advisory position in his administration once the former leader is released from jail.
During his interaction with Bloomberg, he expressed, “I believe he [Thaksin] has value to add to the government and to the people of Thailand,” and “It would be unwise of me not to seek his opinion and that of other prime ministers as well.”
On Friday, Srettha urged journalists to meticulously analyze the interview, emphatically denying that he ever declared he would assign Thaksin to an advisory role.
“I was asked if I would consult Thaksin, and I replied that I would consult all former PMs,” he said. “The first one I sought advice from was General Prayut Chan-o-cha when I took office.”
Moreover, Srettha disclosed that he has convened with several other past Prime Ministers subsequent to his inauguration. He paid a visit to Anand Panyarachun and had a meeting with Somchai Wongsawat in Chiang Mai.
“As a novice, I believe it would be damaging to the country if I didn’t seek advice from these people,” expressed Srettha.
“Not only former PMs, I also welcome advice from anyone, be they former deputy PMs, trade representatives, ministers, or permanent secretaries.”
I am not discriminating against any colours or political beliefs. Any advice that would benefit the country I would gladly take,” he continued.
By ‘colours’, he referred to the supporters of Thaksin, the Red Shirt group, and their rivals, the Yellow Shirt faction.
Thaksin is undergoing imprisonment in several corruption-related cases after his return to Thailand following 15 years of self-imposed exile.
He was admitted to Police General Hospital for medical attention shortly after his arrival on a private jet on August 22.
The former prime minister received a reduction in his eight-year prison term to one year owing to a royal pardon. His family is exploring avenues for his potential early parole, which could possibly occur in February.