Thai ex-PM Thaksin makes first public appearance since release

Thai ex-PM Thaksin makes first public appearance since release
Thai ex-PM Thaksin makes first public appearance since release

Hello and welcome to the details of Thai ex-PM Thaksin makes first public appearance since release and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Thailand’s former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra visited a Bangkok temple today, an AFP reporter saw, in his first public appearance since being freed early from a jail sentence for graft and abuse of power. — Reuters pic/Thai News pic/Tananchai Kaewsowattana

BANGKOK, March 14 — Thailand’s former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra visited a Bangkok temple today, an AFP reporter saw, in his first public appearance since being freed early from a jail sentence for graft and abuse of power.

The controversial billionaire, twice elected premier and ousted in a 2006 military coup, went to the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine ahead of a trip to Chiang Mai in the kingdom’s north later in the day.

Scores of media camped out in front of the shrine where Thaksin, wearing a blue shirt and a neck brace, prayed from around 5.00am (6.00am Malaysian time).

Later today, he is due to fly to Chiang Mai — his home city and traditional political power base — to pray at the graves of his deceased relatives.

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The 74-year-old veteran politician returned to the kingdom in August after 15 years of self-exile and was immediately jailed for eight years on charges dating back to his time in power.

But his sentence was cut to one year by King Maha Vajiralongkorn within days of his return and last month, the government said Thaksin was eligible for early release because of his age and health.

The former Manchester City owner’s return to Thailand last year came shortly after his Pheu Thai party seized the initiative to form a coalition government after losing the popular vote to the progressive Move Forward Party.

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The timing of his return led many to conclude that a backroom deal had been struck to cut his jail time, a suggestion denied by the Pheu Thai-led government.

Thaksin is one of the most influential but divisive figures in modern Thai history.

A former police officer turned telecoms tycoon, he is loved by millions of rural Thais for his populist policies in the early 2000s but has long been opposed by the country’s royalist and pro-military establishment.

The tussle for dominance between the establishment and Thaksin and his allies has largely defined Thai politics over the past two decades. — AFP

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