Thaksin denies Yaowapa will be a 'substitute' for the PM
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra phoned in during Tuesday's meeting of MPs from the ruling Pheu Thai Party to offer advice and make his views on issues ranging from peace talks in the deep South and constitutional amendments to the Bt2.2trillion in loans for infrastructure megaprojects.
Thaksin rejected speculation that his sister Yaowapa Wongsawat, who will contest a by election in Chiang Mai next month, would become a "substitute" prime minister.
He said Yaowapa, currently a nonMP but a powerful figure in Pheu Thai, would work more closely with party MPs in Parliament.
Yaowapa completed a fiveyear political ban at the end of May.
Thaksin spoke with the MPs through the Skype Internetbased software application for about 40 minutes. He said he wanted the constitutional amendments to be done by articlebyarticle, as required under the current charter. He said the government would risk legal problems if it sought to write an entirely new constitution, and that could lead to its downfall.
"If you don't amend by article, you will never be able to change the Constitution," he was quoted as saying by a source familiar with the MPs' meeting.
Thaksin said the Bt2.2trillion in loans were necessary to improve national infrastructure and help boost the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
The former PM told Pheu Thai MPs to explain to the public about the government's need to issue an executive decree to borrow Bt2.2 trillion to fund the megaprojects. He said critics, particularly from the opposition Democrat Party, only focused on the negative side of the loan plan.
In regard to the insurgency in the deep South, Thaksin said peace talks between Thai authorities and the insurgents were necessary to restore peace in the restive region.
"Talks will lead to peace. We need a continuous process of dialogue to help reduce casualties in the South," he told the MPs.
Thaksin also said he "understood" the prime minister, his younger sister Yingluck, would not reshuffle Cabinet seats that involve Pheu Thai but someone would be appointed by Chart Thai Pattana Party to replace deceased Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silapaarcha.
He told MPs not to be scared of political moves against the Pheu Thailed government.
"Let them do the campaign. You just continue doing your work and mingle with the people. We are still government in a democracy," Thaksin said.