Wed, 31 May 2023

Bangkok [Thailand], March 25 (ANI): Thaksin Shinawatra, former Thai prime minister, declared on Friday that regardless of the outcome of an upcoming general election, he is prepared to return and serve his prison sentence in Thailand as long as he is permitted to live out the rest of his days with his family, Kyodo News reported.

After years of living in self-exile overseas, Thaksin said in an interview with Kyodo News while visiting Tokyo that he is waiting it out before maybe returning this year. In order to avoid serving time in prison, he fled Thailand in 2008 after being overthrown in a military coup in 2006.

Referring to his life away from his home country, Taksin said, "Now I've served 16 years already in the big jail because they prevent me from staying with my family." He added, "I've suffered enough. If I were to suffer again in the smaller jail, it is OK."According to a report in Kyodo News, 73-year-old Thaksin also said, "It is not really the price I need to pay but I pay because I want to stay with my grandchildren. I should spend the rest of my life with my children and my grandchildren."The populist billionaire, who led Thailand as prime minister from 2001 to 2006, expressed confidence that the opposition Pheu Thai Party, which is allied with Thaksin, will win the May 14 vote by gaining a majority in the lower house.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, 36, his second and youngest daughter, is one of three Pheu Thai candidates for prime minister.

The lower house was dissolved by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on March 20 to prepare for the general election. The former coup leader, who initially came to power in 2014 by overthrowing a civilian government led by Pheu Thai, has also declared his intention to run for re-election as prime minister.

The former business tycoon departed Thailand in August 2008, upon being given a two-year prison sentence for a conflict-of-interest conviction by the Supreme Court in his absence.

The exiled former prime minister claimed that even if the Pheu Thai Party wins the next election, he will not seek a parliamentary amnesty.

He said, "I told my daughter not to allow the party to push for issuance of the amnesty law for me." "I do not need that as those against me will not be happy."However, Thaksin asserted that serving his sentence at home won't be a betrayal to the people who have been fighting for him by casting ballots for his parties and holding large protests.

Because Thais are weary of Prayut's long-term rule, Thaksin projected that the Pheu Thai Party will win at least half of the 500 seats up for grabs in the upcoming election, and perhaps as many as 310, reported Kyodo News.

Even if Pheu Thai wins the election, the former prime minister claimed, it will still need to create a coalition government with other parties. Yet, he only saw a slim possibility for Pheu Thai to work with its political rivals, such as the Palang Pracharath Party, which is pro-military.

"It will probably be the last choice, not the first choice."After a general election, the 250-member upper house and 500-member lower household a vote to select a new prime minister. The military chooses the 250 senators who make up the upper house.

Pheu Thai won the most lower house seats in the last general election, which took place in 2019. However, Prayut, a Palang Pracharath candidate for prime minister, won the election with 500 votes, defeating an opposition candidate who received 244 votes.

Prayut, 69, is aiming for a different party's premiership this time. According to Thaksin, dozens of senators are now independent and prepared to support the victorious party, thus Pheu Thai may not require the assistance of the military-friendly Palang Pracharath.

According to Thaksin, his daughter Paetongtarn is prepared for a career in politics because she has known him since she was a young child. She will make a better premier than he was, Thaksin predicted.

He said, "She is probably better than me. She is more calm, more patient than me, I think. And she is very knowledgeable."If elected, Paetongtarn, a single mother who is now expecting a second child, will serve as the nation's youngest prime minister. According to surveys done by Thai universities, she is the most popular candidate for prime minister, Kyodo News reported. (ANI)

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