Thailand: Global Opportunities

Thaksin’s Return to Thailand Would Cause Conflict: Former Premier


Bringing Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister convicted of corruption, back to Thailand will bring ‘tension and conflict’ to the country, opposition leader and former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told CNBC on Tuesday.

The current government, led by Thaksin’s sister Yingluck, wants to bring the politician back to the country instead of allowing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate allegations of wrongdoing during Thaksin’s term, Abhisit claimed in the interview.

Thaksin was Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006 and was deposed in a military coup during a visit to New York. Thaksin’s supporters in parliament want to bring him back to Thailand, where he faces a jail term after being convicted of corruption.

“This government has at first vowed that it would support the work of that committee. But rather than waiting for the fact finding, and common solutions that both sides can accept, they are actually pushing ahead with their own agenda of bringing Thaksin back and granting amnesty,” Abhisit told CNBC Asia’s on “Squawk Box”. “That’s sure to create tension and conflict.”

Abhisit, who is the leader of Thailand’s Democrat Party was prime minister of the country from 2008 to 2011, before Yingluck won parliamentary elections and became premier.

In the interview, Abhisit added that an amnesty bill proposed by Yingluck’s government could cause more unrest. If passed, charges could be dropped against both members of the military and Thaksin and his party members.

“There are people who are opposed to the idea that somehow you can just unwind the process that led to the conviction of Thaksin, and also that we should somehow forget about the events of the last few years without actually finding the truth and holding some people accountable,” Ahbisit said. “That’s going to be difficult.”

Emails sent to Ms Yingluck's office and Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not replied in time.

By CNBC’s Jean Chua. Anchor Martin Soong contributed to this report.