Thaksin’s daughter rejects rumours of a secret deal for his return to Thailand
Paetongtarn Shinawatra on Friday dismissed rumours of a political deal between the opposition Pheu Thai Party and the ruling Palang Pracharath Party to facilitate her exiled father's return to Thailand.
“Honestly speaking, there has been no such deal. Pheu Thai is now focusing on campaigning to win a landslide victory [in the upcoming general election,” she said.
Paetongtarn, the youngest daughter of Pheu Thai patriarch and former premier Thaksin Sinawatra, said that she would focus on addressing people’s problems, and not on “bringing Thaksin home”, as that was a different matter.
“My dad has been abroad for 17 years already. He should have his own method and process [of returning to Thailand]. I respect his decision. And he already has said that he would not involve any political party,” Paetongtarn said.
She was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the party’s first electoral campaign in the northeastern province of Loei.
Paetongtarn, who holds the position of Pheu Thai Family head, told party supporters in an earlier rally that it was time for her father to “return home” so that he could meet his grandchildren in Thailand.
There were rumours that a secret deal was reached between Pheu Thai and Palang Pracharath to form a coalition government after the election to pave the way for Thaksin’s return to Thailand without having to serve his prison terms.
Thaksin, who was deposed in a military coup in 2006, has been sentenced to at least 10 years in jail for abuse of power and other charges stemming from his time in power. He has lived in self-imposed exile since 2008.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai leader Chonlanan Srikaew said on Friday that the party already has finalised names of three prime ministerial candidates for the next election. However, Pheu Thai has no need to announce its nominations as the party was already following the “voice of the people” by listening to its supporters and the results of opinion surveys, he added.
Paetongtarn is expected to be one of the three PM candidates. Property tycoon Srettha Thavisin is tipped to be the second PM nominee. It remains unclear if Chonlanan will be its third candidate.
The election is tentatively scheduled for May 7 after the current House of Representatives’ four-year term ends on March 23. However, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has the power to trigger an early election with a House dissolution.