After a self-imposed exile that has spanned over 17 years, rumors are circulating about the potential homecoming of Thailand’s former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Reliable sources within both the Pheu Thai Party and the Royal Thai Police (RTP) have confirmed plans for Thaksin’s arrival at Don Mueang airport on August 10 at approximately 10.30 am.
However, skepticism surrounds this announcement, with detractors Jatuporn Prompan and Chuvit Kamolwisit publicly questioning the legitimacy of such claims, dismissing Thaksin’s return plans as mere rumors.
In an apparent gesture of support, the Pheu Thai Party has been releasing a series of video chronicles via its Facebook page, documenting the significant highs and lows of Thaksin Shinawatra’s political journey. This video series includes Thaksin’s rise to the country’s premier in 2001, through to the political shift in 2014 when a military coup designed by the National Council for Peace and Order resulted in the overthrow of the Pheu Thai Party-led government.
An element of intriguing coincidence adds fuel to these rumors, as the release of these videos synergized with the announcement made by Thaksin’s youngest daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, confirming her father’s return home. As a prime ministerial candidate for the Pheu Thai Party herself, the sequence of this introduction only heightened speculations.
Linthiporn Warinwatchararoj, the Pheu Thai Party’s spokesperson, commented that the video clips were designed to inform the public about Thaksin’s political journey. The goal was to provide accurate information about Thaksin’s career and contested persona, directly combating the spread of misinformation. She firmly denied any intention to distract public attention from the Pheu Thai Party’s ongoing struggle to establish a new government.
She further expressed confidence in the unwavering support from the eight-party coalition, under the leadership of the Move Forward Party (MFP). Thaksin’s family has officially informed the RTP of his looming return and critical security arrangements are being planned to ensure his secure arrival.
Yet, the RTP remains on high alert in anticipation of Thaksin’s homecoming, keeping a close watch on crucial events leading up to August 10th. This keen monitoring includes the Constitutional Court’s announcement scheduled for August 3rd, deciding if it will review its previous decision of barring MFP’s leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, from participating in the third parliamentary vote for a new premier.
Based on the court’s ruling, a possible joint parliamentary session the following day may result in the election of a new premier. In the event of a Pheu Thai Party candidate’s victory and the successful assembly of a government, Thaksin Shinawatra’s return to his homeland will carry a confidence that was 17 years in the making.