Thai ex-PM Thaksin calls for party unity ahead of promised election

Thai ex-PM Thaksin calls for party unity ahead of promised election Fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra met lawmakers from his Puea Thai Party in Hong Kong where he called for party unity ahead of an approaching general election, party members said on Monday. FILE PHOTO: Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra looks on as he speaks to Reuters during an interview in Singapore February 23, 2016 Many are watching to see how Puea Thai Party performs in a vote which the military government has promised to hold in November but which could be delayed.Thaksin, who founded Advance Info Service Pcl, Thailand’s largest mobile phone operator, was prime minister from 2001 to 2006 when he was overthrown in a military coup supported by the Bangkok-based establishment.Thaksin, who is based in Dubai, continues to loom large over Thai politics and remains popular in the northeast ‘Isaan’ region which, along with the north, forms the stronghold of parties aligned with Thaksin which have won every election since 2001 by appealing to poorer voters.His sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was elected prime minister in 2011. She was overthrown in a 2014 military coup.Yingluck fled Thailand last August, weeks before the Supreme Court found her guilty of negligence in mismanaging a rice subsidy scheme and sentenced her to five years in prison.Sources in the Puea Thai Party say she is currently based in England.Thaksin was convicted in absentia in 2006 on conflict of interest charges.The siblings have been in Asia since the start of the… [Read full story]

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