Former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra Emerges in Public After Release

Last Updated on March 14, 2024 11:21 am

In a significant development, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra appeared in public on Thursday, marking his first appearance since his early release from jail for charges related to graft and abuse of power.

Thaksin, a controversial figure in Thai politics, visited the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine, drawing considerable attention from both media and the public. Clad in a blue shirt and a neck brace, he engaged in prayer at the shrine in the early hours of the morning, before embarking on a journey to his hometown of Chiang Mai later in the day.

Accompanied by his daughter Paetongtarn, who currently leads his Pheu Thai party, and her husband, Thaksin’s visit to Chiang Mai includes meetings with family members, supporters, and a visit to the graves of his relatives.

The 74-year-old politician’s return to Thailand in August after 15 years of self-exile was met with immediate legal repercussions, resulting in an initial eight-year jail sentence. However, King Maha Vajiralongkorn intervened to reduce the sentence to one year shortly after Thaksin’s return, and last month, the government cited his age and health as reasons for his early release.

Thaksin’s resurgence into the political landscape comes amid speculation about his continued influence, particularly within the Pheu Thai party, which currently holds power in a coalition government. His release and public appearance raise questions about potential behind-the-scenes negotiations, although these suggestions have been refuted by the Pheu Thai-led administration.

While Thaksin remains a polarizing figure in Thai politics, revered by many for his populist policies but opposed vehemently by segments of the establishment, his presence continues to shape the trajectory of the country’s political landscape. As he navigates his reemergence into public life, all eyes are on Thaksin and the evolving dynamics of Thai politics in the coming days.

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