Election Led to Uncertainty for Thailand and Distantly, Singapore

In the case of Thailand, democracy unfortunately led to uncertainty and very fragile stability. The Sonthi-Suruyad government is unveiling the tactics to keep Thaksin out of Thailand and Thaksin is reminded that he would face arrest if he returns to Thailand. Would Thaksin escalate the tension and return? More clues on Thaksin’s designs can be deciphered only if PPP successfully forms a coalition government.

What omen does it bring for Singapore if Thaksin gets back into power in the months ahead? The Temasek venture into Shin Corp brought down the Thaksin government in a chain of events. Would Thaksin lash back at Singapore for what was a purely commercial deal that turned into his political nightmare? But it would be more complicated than that as he would not want to be seen to be doing a vindictive about turn blatantly.

Former Thai Prime Minister Faces Arrest

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be arrested if he returns home from a self-imposed exile as planned, even if his victorious allies form a government following last weekend’s general election, officials said Thursday.

Thaksin and members of his family face an array of corruption-related charges from the former leader’s six years in office. He was overthrown in a bloodless, military coup last year and has lived abroad since then, but he said Tuesday he was looking into returning in coming months.

“The court and police had already issued arrest warrants on him so once he arrives back to Thailand the authorities concerned are duty-bound by law to arrest him,” Samphan Sarathana, a senior official in the Office of the Attorney General told The Associated Press.

Samphan, a director-general in the office, said the results of the election, won by the pro-Thaksin People’s Power Party or PPP, had no bearing on the legal cases against the former prime minister.

“The case is gone too far for a reversal,” he said.

Thaksin said Tuesday in Hong Kong that he is exploring options to come back to Thailand between mid-February and April. He vowed to stay out of direct politics but said he was prepared to serve as adviser to the PPP.

The PPP won 233 of 480 seats in the lower house of Parliament in the Dec. 23 vote, while its top rival, the Democrat Party, won 165.

The PPP says it has already gathered enough support from smaller parties to form a coalition, but analysts say that horse-trading continues and that it is too early to declare the pro-Thaksin grouping as Thailand’s next government.

An arrest warrant was issued for Thaksin in August after he failed to appear in court in a case involving conflict of interest in a land deal while he was in power. His wife Pojamarn is accused of illegally buying real estate from a government agency effectively controlled by her husband.

In September, a Thai criminal court issued another arrest warrant for Thaksin over alleged concealment of his ownership of millions of dollars worth of shares from the Thai stock exchange.

He has denied all allegations against him.

The military-appointed government that succeeded Thaksin launched several investigations into his alleged corruption and have frozen millions of dollars of his family’s assets. Other cases against him and family members are pending.

The 58-year-old multimillionaire, who owns the Manchester City soccer club, has been living mostly in England since his ouster in September, 2006.


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