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Thaksin plans return

Bangkok, Dec. 25 (Reuters): Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said today he was confident the party he backed in weekend elections could form a coalition government, unless prevented unfairly, allowing him to return from exile.

“If nobody interferes in the normal democratic process of forming a coalition government, everything will be completed accordingly,” Thaksin said by telephone from Hong Kong in a clear reference to the military that ousted him in 2006. “That will be the first step toward national reconciliation,” he said.

He insisted he would not return to politics after the general election proved Thailand was still polarised between his urban and military enemies and his rural faithful.

The latest tally from the election commission showed the People Power Party, the reincarnation of Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party dissolved after the bloodless coup for poll fraud, originally won 233 of the 480 parliamentary seats.

But shortly after the military said it would do nothing to prevent the PPP trying to put a coalition together, the EC disqualified three PPP winners in a northeastern constituency for electoral fraud, calling a byelection on January 13.

“We have nothing to worry about and will accept it,” Armed Forces Supreme Commander General Boonsrang Niumpradit said earlier today, despite a widespread belief the military would do all it could to prevent the PPP forming a coalition after a vote that effectively condemned the coup. “We just have to let politicians do their job. The CNS won’t get involved,” he told reporters, referring to the Council for National Security as the coup leaders call themselves.

However, political analysts point to many ways the generals can affect progress.


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