FORMER prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh yesterday said he felt fugitive ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra wanted to return home when they talked on the phone “a few days ago”.
Chavalit, 86, refused to say how often he talked to Thaksin and who had made the call in their latest conversation.
He suggested that Thaksin needed to “do good deeds for the people” to gain support from the majority of Thailand’s 65 million population, who would then back his return home.
“Khun Thaksin did not have to tell me he wanted to return home. I knew that he did, judging from his voice. All of us want to return [be] home,” Chavalit said, adding that Thaksin had retained his loyalty to the Thai monarchy and his homeland.
Thaksin left Thailand in 2008, shortly before the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced him in absentia to two years’ imprisonment for abuse of power. He has since lived in self-exile overseas. Chavalit talked to reporters at a restaurant in Bangkok’s Rama III Road area.
He called for the formation of a “provisional government” at least five months before the next general election is held, explaining that the administration would be charged with solving certain problems to prepare for the poll.
A former Army General, Chavalit yesterday defended the ruling junta – the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – which is blamed for failing to solve the country’s problems after four years in power.
He said a vicious cycle of election, military coup and a new constitution had taken place again and again since Thailand became a constitutional monarchy in 1932. “Thailand is the only country to have 20 constitutions. Most other countries have only one or two each,” he said.
Chavalit served as the Royal Thai Army commander-in-chief from 1986 to 1990, and was prime minister from 1996 to 1997.