Pattaya Daily News

27 June 2011 :: 09:06:16 am 55514

Fugitive Thaksin vows not to seek revenge

BANGKOK, June 26, 2011 (AFP) - Fugitive Thai ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has vowed not to seek revenge over the coup which ousted him from power if his party wins the restive kingdom's upcoming elections.
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In a television interview from his self-imposed exile in Dubai, he told the Al-Jazeera news network his top priority was reconciliation and reuniting Thailand, which has been riven with deep divisions since the 2006 coup.

“Never — I never want revenge,” said Thaksin, who fled Thailand before being convicted in his absence for corruption.

The interview was aired on Sunday as up to two million voters were expected to submit advance ballots in Thailand’s first election since the kingdom was rocked by its worst civil violence in decades last year.

“We have to join hands and move ahead,” Thaksin said. “We have to move our country ahead. We have been wasting too much time already.”

Mass anti-government protests by Thaksin’s “Red Shirt” supporters last year triggered a military crackdown that left more than 90 people dead, mostly civilians, in street clashes between protesters and armed troops.

“If reconciliation (is) to unite, we need to forget the past,” Thakson said. “If we cannot forget the past, we are still talking about the past and there is no way we can move ahead.”

Although he lives abroad, Thaksin is widely seen as the de facto leader of the main opposition Puea Thai Party and his youngest sister Yingluck Shinawatra is pitted against his arch-foe, current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of the elite-backed Democrat Party.

Yingluck, 43, is politically inexperienced and many in Thailand feel her nomination as the opposition candidate for premier confirms Thaksin’s central role in the kingdom’s political landscape despite living in exile.

But Thaksin defended her candidacy, saying her experience in business qualified her to be prime minister.

Yingluck has made clear that an amnesty for those on political charges is a priority, but Thaksin said any amnesty should apply to both sides.

“We don’t want to see any more (violence),” he said. “That’s the reason we are asking for reconciliation. That’s the reason we are asking for Thailand to be one nation — not to be divisive any more.”

Thaksin called for any process of reconciliation to be even-handed and led by neutral organisations, adding that any amnesty should apply to both sides.

He denied he had ambitions to return to office and agreed that his premiership had not been perfect, adding that he would “use more velvet glove, less iron fist” were he to return to Thailand.

“I can say sorry, nobody’s perfect, when you rule the country for six years you might say something that is not satisfactory to different sectors of people, but what democracy is all about is the majority,” he said.

“Every time we have elections, we have more and more majority and the last election we won with 377 (majority), before being ousted by coup d’etat. That’s 76 per cent of members of parliament.”

Some 2.4 million of Thailand’s 46 million eligible voters registered for advance votes ahead of the July 3 poll, with opinion surveys showing the ruling Democrats lagging behind a resurgent opposition.

Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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