By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha today (July 19) dared the rank and file of Pheu Thai Party to bring back home their de facto leader/former premier Thaksin Shinawatra from self-exile overseas.
During the first day of a censure/no-confidence motion against him and 10 other cabinet members, Prayut struck back at the opposition bloc by daring Pheu Thai Party to manage to bring back home the fugitive Thaksin who has been reportedly residing in Dubai since the last several years.
Prayut’s sarcasm launched against Pheu Thai Party closely followed conclusions made by opposition lawmakers that Thaksin was far more competent and well-versed at running the country than Prayut who had earlier repeatedly called on the former premier to return home to serve his 12-year jail term due to convicted misconduct charges.
The former premier who founded Thai Rak Thai Party which was legally dissolved and practically rebranded as People’s Power Party which was also legally dissolved and has practically become Pheu Thai Party is still largely viewed as de facto leader of the opposition party, nominally headed by opposition leader Chonlanan Srikaew.
Whilst the former premier’s youngest daughter Paethongtarn Shinawatra will likely be named by Pheu Thai Party as candidate for head of a post-election government, the former premier has repeatedly expressed his intention to return home to tend to his grandchildren and act as “mentor” upon request.
Thaksin who earlier commented via social media that he would return home sooner than later repeatedly encouraged the rank and file of Pheu Thai Party to score a “landslide” victory in the next general election to help make his dream come true.
Thaksin was deposed in the 2006 coup by then-army chief Sonthi Boonyaratkalin whilst his younger sister/former premier Yingluck Shinwatra was ousted by Prayut as army chief in the 2014 coup.
Prayut contended that he has done a great deal over the last eight years for the people and country but the Pheu Thai-led opposition bloc had hardly lended him an ear.
But the unelected premier declined to respond to criticisms made by the Pheu Thai leader that he had deliberately allowed Myanmar air force to use Thai airspace in Popphra district of Tak during last month’s combat mission against Karen rebel bases along the Thai-Myanmar border.
A Myanmar MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet swerved into Thai airspace to attack the Karen rebel bases with missiles, bombs and gunfire whereas a couple of Thai F-16 Fighting Falcon jets only took to the sky from Wing 4 air base in Takhli after the airborne intruder had already returned across the border into Myanmar airspace.
“(Prayut) may have had some sympathy for the current Myanmar leader who rose to power in the same way as he did, thus offering the use of Thai airspace at the cost of this country’s territorial integrity,” commented Chonlanan, referring to Min Aung Hlaing, the Myanmar general who seized power from an elected government last year.
Meanwhile, the Pheu Thai leader took to task the premier for allegedly breaching the constitution and interfering in the business of the legislative branch by masterminding the last-minute change in legal process for the election for MPs in party-listed mode.
Prayut had allegedly manipulated Palang Pracharath-led coalition MPs and senators into taking a last-minute twist by voting for the mixed-member-proportional system, also known as the divided-by-500 formula though they had earlier resolved to endorse the mixed-member-majority system, also known as the divided-by-100 formula.
The divided-by-500 system was believed to render some advantages for splinter parties, a dozen of which have joined the Prayut coalition government following the 2019 election, whilst reducing the chances for Pheu Thai contestants vying in party-listed mode to get elected as MPs in the next race to parliament.
Chonlanan said Prayut could probably be faced with legal action due to his alleged severe misconducts pertaining to the Myanmar violation of Thai airspace over Popphra district and his alleged interference in the legislative branch by tampering with the electoral system.
Top and Front Page: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha addressing the Parliament at the start of the censure debate today, July 19. Photo: Naewna
Insert: Thaksin Shinawatra now lives in self-imposed exile. Photo: PA and published by BBC