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Pattaya Daily News

27 February 2008 :: 17:02:13 pm 28946

Deputy Pm Pleads for Unity Over Thaksin Return

BANGKOK, Feb 27 - As the hour of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra‘s return to Thailand looms closer, Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Suebwonglee is urging both supporters and opponents of the ex-premier to refrain from any move that could plunge Thai society into an even deeper rift, saying as a citizen the former premier is entitled to return to his home country.
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Mr. Thaksin’s close aides said the ex-premier, who has been in largely self-imposed exile since the September 2006 coup that toppled his administration, will return to Thailand on Thursday to fight charges of corruption and abuse of power.

Amid increasing concern regarding possible clashes between supporters and opponents of the conflicting parties over the ex-premier’s homecoming, Mr. Surapong, who is also the People Power Party’s secretary-general, urged all parties across the political spectrum not to link the return to any kind of political conflict.

“Mr. Thaksin has the right as a Thai citizen to return to his home country,” he emphasised, so “that is not a cause for concern. He is returning to fight for justice in his court case, which should not be linked to politics.”

“Differing opinions are acceptable, but they should not lead to serious division at a time when the country needs unity to drive it forward,” the deputy prime minister.

Mr Surapong made the plea following an anti-Thaksin coalition announced on Monday they would renew their campaign if the justice system is interfered with after Mr. Thaksin’s return to the country.

Meanwhile, groups of Thaksin supporters also announced that they would turn up at Suvarnabhumi airport to show their support to the former premier once he arrives. Mr. Thaksin and his wife are charged with corruption in relation to the purchase of a Bt772 million (US$26 million) plot of land in Bangkok’s Rachadapisek area in 2003, while he served as prime minister.

The former premier is accused of illegally influencing the deal and helping his wife purchase the government-owned parcel of land at a bargain price while he was in office.

Mr. Thaksin and his wife, who returned to Thailand last month and was released on bail pending trial, have both repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Pichit Chuenban, Mr. Thaksin’s defence lawyer, said his client w

ould turn himself in to police when he arrives and will seek his release on bail. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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