THAI RATH ANALYSIS :
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has fled into exile in London, but this may not signal the end of his political life. In a hand-written statement faxed to local media offices last Monday, Mr Thaksin said there had been threats against his life since he returned to Thailand on Feb 28 this year. He had been living in London since he was removed from power in the Sept 19, 2006 coup.
"I have constantly received news that my life is not safe. Wherever I travel, I have to use bulletproof cars," Mr Thaksin stated, adding that judicial interference and double standards caused him and his family to receive no justice, and that his enemies were bent on getting rid of him from politics.
Judging from his words, the deposed prime minister is trying to put himself under the protection of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR). He apparently gave up his determination to fight a slew of court cases against him after his wife, Khunying Potjaman, was convicted on July 31 of tax evasion and released on bail.
But has Mr Thaksin really given up politics? In his written statement he urged supporters to remain patient because he would clear his name in public when the time was right.
"If I have a chance, I will come back to die on Thai ground," he wrote. It remains to be seen how much sympathy he can get from his followers. An indication of that may be evident when the People Power party submits a constitutional amendment bill to parliament on Aug 18.
Wednesday August 13, 2008