Thaksin gets hero’s welcome upon arrival at Pheu Thai head office


Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra received a hero’s welcome, with hugs and kisses from his supporters, when he arrived at Pheu Thai Party’s headquarters in Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon.

The crowd waiting to greet the party’s patriarch erupted in cheer the minute he stepped out of his Bentley. This is the first time that the former leader is visiting the party’s head office since returning from self-imposed exile on August 22 last year.

Many Pheu Thai Cabinet members even excused themselves from the weekly Cabinet meeting, so they could greet Thaksin.

Members of the red-shirt movement and other supporters, some of whom had come from other provinces, had gathered outside the party’s offices since 10am to wait for Thaksin’s arrival.

Thaksin gets hero’s welcome upon arrival at Pheu Thai head office

Several Pheu Thai MPs also showed up early, including Wisut Chaiya-aroon, Kosol Patama, Chanin Rungthanakiart and Pheu Thai secretary-general Sorawong Thienthong.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Thaksin’s youngest daughter who is also Pheu Thai leader, arrived just after 1pm with Cabinet members who had taken leave from the weekly meeting.

The ministers arriving with Paetongtarn included Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, PM’s Office Minister Puangpetch Chunla-ead, and Culture Minister Sermsak Pongpanit.

The ministers, MPs, party officials and selected supporters stood in two queues in the hall of the party head office to greet Thaksin.

Thaksin gets hero’s welcome upon arrival at Pheu Thai head office

The party patriarch arrived at 1.30pm in a blue suit and without the neck brace that he had been wearing when he visited his home province of Chiang Mai mid-this month.

As soon as his car was parked, supporters rushed to give him flowers and shout “We love Thaksin”. Several even hugged and kissed him.

Thaksin met his supporters with a big smile before climbing the stairway to the party head office. He then paid respect at a portrait of His Majesty the King, waved to the media and headed for the lift to go to the eighth floor to meet party members, ministers and MPs.

While he was making his way to the lift, some reporters tried to ask him questions but were stopped by Paetongtarn.

After returning to Thailand, Thaksin was confined at the Police General Hospital for six months before being released on parole. The Corrections Department said he was eligible for parole thanks to his age and poor health condition.