Roundup: Former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra tells followers to abide by military rule

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Former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra has recently told his followers to abide by military rule following the May 22 coup which seized power from his own sister, deposed premier Yingluck.

Thaksin made his comments during an occasional visit to Hong Kong over the weekend as he met with several Thai politicians who flew from here to see him there, an ex-MP who was among those meeting with Thaksin disclosed on Monday.

They included former members of cabinet earlier headed by Yingluck and former legislators of the once-ruling Pheu Thai (for Thais) Party.

The ex-MP said on Monday that Thaksin suggested his followers obey orders given out by top Thai ruler Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and the National Council for Peace and Order, the official name of the military junta who toppled Yingluck's civilian government in the bloodless coup.

"Khun Thaksin told us to abide by the orders and directives of the NCPO and to refrain from making any political move under the current military rule which, he believed, would only last a one- year time."

"He remarked that the military would not stay in power for too long under mounting pressure, given the country's economic woes and other issues which would besiege an interim government," said the ex-Pheu Thai lawmaker, who asked not to be named.

Gen Prayuth is widely speculated to be named head of the interim government by members of the National Legislative Assembly, all of whom were handpicked by the army chief himself.

However, the ex-MP said the globetrotting Thaksin had told his visitors to never do anything which might otherwise upset the ruling military, regarding the setting up of the non-elected government and its future performances.

Thaksin made his comments barely a week after Yingluck had met with him in Britain and the United States during her 18-day overseas tour for which Gen Prayuth had granted permission. She returned home as earlier scheduled last week.

A number of ex-Pheu Thai legislators and cabinet members had reported to the NCPO following the coup and only few had refused to comply.

Those who defied the junta's summons included former interior minister/former Pheu Thai leader Charupong Ruangsuwan and former Prime Minister's Office minister Jakapob Penkair, who set up the so-called Organization of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy which supposedly made anti-coup movement abroad.

Meanwhile, the ex-MP quoted Thaksin as saying much-heralded bids to do reforms in the country's political, economic, social and judicial sectors will be "very difficult" to succeed though the ruling military have invited members of the public to join the so-called National Reform Council to do so roughly in a one-year time.

Nonetheless, he said Thaksin insisted that all politically- motivated lawsuits be settled and amnesty be given to those currently faced with criminal charges involving the chronic political conflict since the past several years so that all opposing sides of society will mutually come to terms under national reconciliatory bids.

Thaksin, who remains in self-exile overseas following the 2006 military coup which ousted him from premiership, was convicted in absentia by the Supreme Court of corruption which landed him a two- years jail term involving a Bangkok land grab scandal a decade ago.

He has remained silent and stopped short of making political comments since Yingluck dissolved parliament last December under pressure from prolonged street protests orchestrated by former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban and after the military staged the May 22 coup though he had been very instrumental in the revigorating of the Red Shirt activism over the past several years.

The Red Shirt movement which has been practically crippled by the military following the coup was primarily organized to muster popular support for Thaksin and Yingluck. Endi

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