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Thaksin Shinawatra’s Strategic Return to Chiang Mai: A Bid to Reinstate Pheu Thai’s Dominance

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In the lush landscapes of Chiang Mai, a political saga more enthralling than any soap opera unfolds, featuring none other than the enigmatic former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The air was thick with anticipation as Thaksin, the prodigal son of Thai politics, made a grand entrance back to his native soil on Thursday. This was no ordinary visit; it was a strategic maneuver aimed at recapturing the hearts and political loyalties of the region for the Pheu Thai Party, following a bruising defeat to the Move Forward Party (MFP) in the May 14 election. A loss felt deeply, especially in Chiang Mai, deemed the stronghold and “capital” of Pheu Thai, which found itself outpaced by the MFP in a stunning turn of events.

The electoral battleground of Chiang Mai, with its 10 constituency seats, witnessed a seismic shift last year. The MFP clinched seven, leaving Pheu Thai grasping at straws with a mere two, a stark declination from their clean sweep in the 2019 elections. The political plot thickens with Thaksin, the ever-influential figure behind Pheu Thai, which now sees his youngest daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, at the helm. Thaksin’s homecoming was not just a trip; it was a masterstroke in political theater.

Greeted by the majestic Wing 41 at 9.28am, Thaksin’s arrival was nothing short of cinematic. Alongside his family, including a nurse dutifully ensuring his comfort (neck brace in tow), Thaksin stepped back onto Chiang Mai soil after 17 long years, in an impeccable choreography of power, family, and politics. This visit also saw him bask in the verdant glory of the Royal Park Rajapruek, a testament to his legacy as prime minister, where supporters, like echoes of a bygone era, awaited with symbols of reverence and continuity.

Yet, it wasn’t just a walk down memory lane. The political reckoning in Chiang Mai was underscored by the presence of political heavyweights, allies, and family alike, illustrating the web of influence Thaksin still weaves. Among the faces were figures such as Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, showcasing a united front despite previous electoral setbacks and illustrating Thaksin’s still-potent political clout.

Observers and political analysts watched with bated breath, interpreting Thaksin’s every move as a calculated step in a larger chess game. The undercurrents of this visit hint at a brewing storm, a potential reshuffling of political allegiances, and the paving of new paths for Pheu Thai. However, the challenge looms large, as Pheu Thai’s reconciliation with once adversaries raises eyebrows among its core supporters, posing a formidable task for Thaksin’s Midas touch.

Despite the uncertainty clouding Pheu Thai’s future, Thaksin’s visit was more than a mere political gambit; it was a declaration. As the political narrative in Chiang Mai and beyond continues to unfold, one thing remains clear – Thaksin Shinawatra, through his kin and allies, is poised not just to reclaim lost ground but to script a new chapter in the annals of Thai politics. In the verdant embrace of Chiang Mai, a story of resilience, political acumen, and familial bonds played out, with Thaksin at its heart, signaling yet another turn in Thailand’s ever-dynamic political saga.


  1. JennyH March 14, 2024

    It’s fascinating to see Thaksin Shinawatra making such a strategic return to Chiang Mai. It truly shows how resilient and influential he still is in Thai politics. This might just be what Pheu Thai needs to regain its footing.

    • MarkusBlue March 14, 2024

      I disagree. Thaksin’s return is just a reminder of his controversial past. It’s hard to believe that this is anything more than a desperate attempt to cling to power.

      • JennyH March 14, 2024

        I see your point, but you can’t deny his ability to mobilize and inspire his base. Controversial or not, his political savvy is something Pheu Thai desperately needs right now.

      • ThaiPatriot March 14, 2024

        Exactly, his past is controversial for a reason. Bringing him back risks polarizing the electorate even further. Pheu Thai needs new blood, not relics of the past.

    • ChiangMaiLover March 14, 2024

      Interestingly, his visit to the Royal Park Rajapruek being highlighted seems symbolic. It reminds people of his contributions and might soften his image.

  2. SukiTan March 14, 2024

    It’s all political theater. Keeping Thaksin in play is a strategic move, but can Pheu Thai actually deliver change? Past performance suggests otherwise.

    • Optimist101 March 14, 2024

      Change takes time and the right strategy. Thaksin’s return might just be the catalyst Pheu Thai needs to re-strategize and reclaim their stronghold in Chiang Mai and beyond.

  3. HistoryBuff March 14, 2024

    Thaksin’s visit, after 17 years, to Chiang Mai is not just a nostalgia trip. It’s a clear indicator of his undiminished role in shaping Thai politics. This move could potentially alter the political landscape once more.

    • RealistR March 14, 2024

      Undiminished? More like unwelcome by a significant portion of the population. His return might spark more division than unity.

  4. NokL March 14, 2024

    I’m curious how the Move Forward Party will respond to this. They’ve managed to outpace Pheu Thai in Chiang Mai, but Thaksin’s return could potentially shift the dynamics once again.

    • MFP_Supporter March 14, 2024

      MFP is here to stay. They represent the new wave of change that Thaksin and Pheu Thai can’t match. His return won’t change that.

  5. greenRiceField March 14, 2024

    This is more than just a family visit; it’s a strategic political move. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next election.

  6. DemocracyNow March 15, 2024

    Can Thaksin really make a difference, or is this just a temporary boost for Pheu Thai? Thai politics needs genuine reform, not the same old tactics.

    • MarkusBlue March 15, 2024

      Exactly, Thaksin’s methods are outdated. Thailand needs leaders who are forward-thinking, not ones stuck in the past.

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