Thaksin advised to stay abroad for a long time
Army rejects his plan to return, says his coming back would aggravate social division
Ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra had hoped to return to his home in Bangkok next Sunday, but the Council for National Security (CNS) put a stop to his plan.
A political source said household maids had been preparing the Chan Song Lah residence ready for Thaksin's return.
There were also reports that Thaksin, who has taken refuge in London, flew to Singapore over the weekend and met with senior members of the Thai Rak Thai.
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont admitted that Thaksin had requested that he be allowed to come home, but was told that the time was not right yet.
Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, head of the security council, expressed concern yesterday about the volatile political situation caused by certain pressure groups acting like a political undercurrent to exert undue influence.
"The situation has not been completely normalised and authorities are closely monitoring the unfolding events," he said.
In light of the political volatility, the time was not right for deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra to return, Sonthi said.
The CNS and the interim government would have to hold a joint meeting before giving a green light for Thaksin to return, he said.
Thaksin said in an interview broadcast on iTV yesterday that he would not be returning to Thailand in the near future. Speaking from his posh London apartment, the ex-PM said he wanted a rest.
It was unclear when the interview was recorded.
General Winai Phattiyakul, the CNS secretary general, said Thaksin should not make a hasty decision to end his exile before the lifting of martial law.
"For the sake of peace, many concerned parties have suggested that Thaksin review the timing of his return to Bangkok carefully," Winai said.
He also said the CNS would finalise its decision this week whether to issue a white paper on the domestic political situation. The paper, if published, will explain the September 19 coup.
Chat Thai Party deputy leader Somsak Prissanananthakul said he viewed the timing of Thaksin's return as the real issue.
"It is not a problem for Thaksin to return to his homeland but he should choose the right time to do so," Somsak said. The wrong timing might exacerbate social divisions, he said, adding that he believed Thaksin could decide his options for himself.
Former senator Wallop Tangkhananurak agreed, saying that Thaksin's return at this time could trigger dangerous confrontations between his supporters and detractors.
Deposed premier Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn enjoyed the forgiveness of the Thai people after a time lapse of one year in exile and remained a respected figure among his supporters, Wallop said, urging Thaksin to emulate Thanom's example.
Former Thai Rak Thai MP Chalermchai Ulankul said Thaksin should extend his London stay rather than risk living in detention.
Thaksin's return would likely trigger situations that could get out of hand and this in turn would prompt the authorities to restrict his movement, Chalermchai said.
Activist Phromsak Saenpho said he had just made a long-distance call from Chiang Mai to Thaksin in London.
"Thaksin told me he did not want to stir up trouble and confirmed his stand on the peaceful political process," Phromsak said.
He said Thaksin should be allowed his return without any pre-conditions.
Chaiphan Prapasawat, another activist from Chiang Mai, said police should immediately detain Thaksin to face charges relating to policy abuses, corruption and more than 2,000 killings during the "war on drugs".