EX-PM Thaksin con­fi­dent pro-democ­racy forces would win Thai elec­tion

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

AN al­liance of pro-democ­racy par­ties would de­feat pro-mil­i­tary par­ties in Thai­land’s gen­eral elec­tion next year if it is held freely and fairly, ousted for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra said Thurs­day.

“I think the pro-democ­racy par­ties, all to­gether, will win more than 300 (lower house) seats out of 500. It’s time for (vot­ers) to cast their bal­lots ...to dump the dic­ta­tor­ship of Thai­land,” Thaksin said in an in­ter­view with Ky­odo News amid a visit to Hong Kong.

The 69-year-old po­lice­man­turned-tele­coms mogul, who was ousted as pre­mier in a blood­less mil­i­tary coup in 2006, said his party, which has won ev­ery na­tional elec­tion since 2001, will surely do well at the polls ten­ta­tively sched­uled for Fe­bru­ary 24 be­cause many vot­ers be­lieve it “al­ways has a so­lu­tion for them.”

“Ev­ery time we be­come gov­ern­ment, they feel they pros­per, es­pe­cially the peo­ple in the mid­dle class and the lower class peo­ple. The peo­ple need a party that can have a so­lu­tion for their lives, more than a party with a lot of author­ity, a lot of ex­cess power, which (does not) al­low them to have more free­dom,” he said.

Thaksin said he is “quite cer­tain” the polls will take place as sched­uled on Fe­bru­ary 24 since Prime Min­is­ter Prayut Chan-ocha, who came to power in an­other blood­less mil­i­tary coup in 2014, has “promised in­ter­na­tion­ally sev­eral times” to pro­ceed with it, after sev­eral de­lays.

“It’s his last chance to keep his word,” he said, adding that to do oth­er­wise would “not be good for the coun­try.”

Thaksin said that un­der the junta’s rule “you can­not ex­pect any kind of true democ­racy, you can­not ex­pect any (fair­ness).”

He and his younger sis­ter, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra, are both liv­ing abroad, in Lon­don and else­where, as fugi­tives from jus­tice. They face ar­rest if they re­turn home, after be­ing con­victed of var­i­ous cor­rup­tion and abuse of power charges.

“The rule of law has not been ob­served, judges can write their own law and the jus­tice sys­tem can be in­ter­vened by the junta in ev­ery step,” he said. “Where there is no jus­tice, why (do) you have to sur­ren­der your­self (to) in­jus­tice?”

Thaksin was prime min­is­ter from 2001 un­til 2006, while Yingluck served from 2011 to 2014, when she was ousted by the coun­try’s Con­sti­tu­tional Court, shortly be­fore the lat­est coup.

With re­gard to his fam­ily’s fu­ture role in Thai pol­i­tics, Thaksin said, “It’s time for us to step back, let the party run it­self pro­fes­sion­ally.”

– Ky­odo

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