Thaksin has no plans to return yet
Ousted PM believes time not right; TRT pushes for end to martial law amid talk of mounting defiance by supporters in NE
Deposed prime minister Thaksin Shina-watra has no plans to return to Thailand in the near future.
The ousted leader has also ruled out attempts to seek political asylum in the United Kingdom, according to his legal adviser Noppadol Pattama yesterday.
"He will be returning when the time is right. No-one should have any worries or suspicions [regarding Thaksin's return]," Noppadol told a news conference at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel.
The ex-prime minister would not return to Thailand at this time, Noppadol said, adding Thaksin would judge for himself when it was appropriate to come back.
The legal adviser also dismissed news reports Thaksin had hired British lawyers in an attempt to win political asylum. "He wants to cooperate with the current government for reconciliation. He also wants Thailand to restore democracy soon," Noppadol said.
Noppadol, who is a former Thai Rak Thai member of parliament, said he had spoken with Thaksin who thanked supporters for messages of encouragement.
Thaksin's government was toppled in a September 19 coup and he has been in exile in London. His daughter Pinthongta studies at the London School of Economics.
The Thai Rak Thai Party yesterday stepped up pressure on the Council for National Security (CNS) to lift martial law so Thaksin could return to the country.
Party deputy spokesman Suthin Klangsang said retaining martial law would do more harm than good to both the image of the CNS and the country.
"Former Thai Rak Thai MPs want Thaksin to come back to oversee the party again. We believe he won't abandon the party," he said.
This latest Thai Rak Thai move came amid a campaign in the Northeast against the CNS.
Chain letters and anonymous leaflets with messages attacking the coup were circulated in parts of Phetchabun, where CNS leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin presided over a "kathin" ceremony at a local temple.
The CNS yesterday called a meeting of leading teachers in the Northeast after it sensed a possible build-up of opposition by groups loyal to the ousted prime minister. The council asked for teacher opinions of the coup and on how they saw national reconciliation progressing.
Thaikorn Pholsuwan, a political activist from the Northeast, yesterday said there was a secret campaign in the region against the CNS. He claimed those behind it planned to rally if martial law was not lifted.
In a related development, some members of the CNS-appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) yesterday warned against the return of Thaksin at this time.
Wallop Tangkananurak, a former senator and an NLA member, said although the ex-PM had a right to return at any time his early return could trigger violent confrontations between supporters and detractors.
Nitiphum Navarat, another member of the assembly, said it was not the right time for Thaksin to return home because it could lead to chaos.
Chat Thai deputy leader Somsak Prisanananthakul yesterday said Thai Rak Thai should not try to link Thaksin's return to martial law.
He said Thaksin could come back any time but he should consider the negative impact it could have on social order.