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Thailand - Thaksin Shinawatra interview

Thaksin calls on Thai king to make peace

Article published on the 2009-04-16 Latest update 2009-04-16 11:55 TU

Thaksin Shinawattra talks to France 24 and RFI(Photo: France 24)

Thaksin Shinawattra talks to France 24 and RFI
(Photo: France 24)

Thailand's deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has called on King Bhumibol Adulyadej to conciliate in the country's long-running political crisis. In an interview with RFI and France 24 television, Thaksin declared, "Reconciliation is needed".

"It is the time for His Majesty to intervene," Thaksin said. "Otherwise the divisive will be even wider and the confrontation will be more and more."

After more than two years of political crisis, Thaksin, who was ousted by the military in 2006, called for royal intervention to end the country's bitter factional fighting.

"Reconciliation is needed," he told interviewer Aurélien Colly. "There is no war, ended by war."

Opponents of the Abhisit government forced the closure of the Asean summit last weekend but were later forced to end their protest camp outside government offices in Bangkok by a state of emergency and military intervention.

Two deaths were reported during fighting between local residents and Red Shirts on Monday, but Thaksin claims that the police and government are covering up the deaths of a number of his supporters during the confrontations.

"I’ve been told that the military [were] using true ammunition aimed horizontally at the people and shot them, so many dying, and the witnesses told that they dragged the corpse away."

He accuses government-backed provocateurs of sparking violence and adds that "probably 100" Red Shirts were injured and promises to make the details public.

"There’s an old saying of Thailand, when an elephant dies you cannot cover it up with one small lotus leaf. So I think it will come out, we will prove it."

The former Prime Minister, who is now subject to an arrest warrant in Thailand on charges of corruption and abuse of power, says he has contact with protest organisers but insists that he is not giving them orders.

"One part is my strong supporters," he says. "Another part is those who are really pro-democracy, sometimes they don’t even like me […] I give them moral support."

Having won the support of many poor voters by rural development programmes when he was in power, Thaksin believes that the Abhisit government is jealous of his popular support.

"They try to get me at the expense of the whole country because they are afraid of my popularity," he claims. "They want to shift the power from my side to their side at the expense of the country and the people."

A government of Thaksin's allies was toppled by street demonstrations by the yellow-shirted People's Alliance for Democracy and legal intervention last year.

"In the past 67 years we have 17 coups, ten of which were successful, only 22 elections. It means that every two elections, you have one coup," he says, calling for an end to  the cycle of military intervention and what he sees as dominance by a small elite.

Abhisit returned to Government House on Thursday amid tight security after the end of Red Shirt protests.

The government has withdrawn Thaksin's diplomatic passport but Nicaragua has given him a replacement, saying that he was appointed as "an ambassador of Nicaragua on a special mission" earlier this year, so that he could help attract investment to the impoverished central American country.

 On France 24 TV

Thaksin Shinawattra speaks