BANGKOK (AA) – The Thai junta’s political nemesis has told his followers not to interfere with the military’s work, but warned that it should not hold onto the reigns of power for longer than one year.
The Bangkok Post newspaper quoted an unnamed politician as saying Monday that former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra – overthrown by the military after 5 years of rule in a 2006 coup – met with a group of former government ministers and ex-lawmakers in Hong Kong last week.
“We must let the soldiers do their work to their best capability. Time will prove everything,” Thaksin is reported to have said.
“Every one of us must cooperate with them without putting any obstruction, because in doing so we could be blamed if they fail to succeed.”
Thaksin, a deeply divisive figure in Thai politics who has been living in exile since a 2008 abuse of power conviction, has been silent since his sister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government was unseated in the May 22 coup – Yingluck herself removed by a Thai court just weeks earlier.
This is in stark contrast with previous years when Thaksin constantly spurred on his “Red Shirt” supporters to oppose his political enemies.
But even though Thaksin appeared to be warning his allies not to upset the junta, he did not shy away from his own stern prediction for the men in uniform.
He said he believed the Junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) would be in power for about one year because it would be “very difficult” for the junta to put into place its much heralded political and economic reforms.
The NCPO would find itself under increasing pressure, especially because of the country’s mounting economic woes, the Post reported the source as saying Thaksin had said.
Yingluck bhas also met with her brother. She returned to Bangkok on August 10 after hooking up with Thaksin during a recent trip to Europe for which she had to request the junta’s permission.
Since the coup, the junta has reinforced its hold over the country by appointing a 200-member National Assembly, more than half of which are active or retired military officers.
It is now hand-picking members of a 250 members Reform council which will be in charge of drawing political and social reforms, which will then be written in a permanent constitution.
Junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha is widely expected to be appointed prime minister of an interim government by the National Legislative Assembly before the end of the month.
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