Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has expressed concern that his advice given to the Pheu Thai Party may be deemed an intervention by an outsider – which Thaksin views as being against the Constitution, according to a party source who asked not to be identified.
A dozen Pheu Thai politicians met Thaksin in Hong Kong on Thursday to discuss a wide range of issues including Thai politics, the source said on Friday.
During their meeting, which lasted about an hour, the ex-premier said uncertainties remained in Thai politics as it remains unclear when the next general election would be held, said the source.
Regarding the issue of party leadership, Thaksin merely commented that when its members could convene a meeting after the junta lifts a ban on political assemblies, a decision on who should be the next Pheu Thai leader should be made by a majority of the party members, the source said.
“The result should depend on the majority of party members. That way, the problem will be solved,” the source quoted Thaksin as saying.
Pheu Thai has been split over who should next lead the party. Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, a party heavyweight who is reportedly favoured by Thaksin, is backed by the party’s Bangkok politicians but opposed by those from other regions.
The source insisted that Thaksin did not want to get involved with any party matters because he was aware that the Constitution prohibits intervention by outsiders in any political party’s internal affairs.
“People in power came out to attack [Thaksin] even for former MPs coming to meet him” in Hong Kong, the source added.
Thaksin has lived in exile overseas since fleeing Thailand in 2008. Later in the same year, he was sentenced in absentia by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders to two years in jail for abuse of power while serving as prime minister.