Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra seriously considered setting up a government in exile after he was toppled by a military coup last year, a close aide to the deposed premier has revealed.
"Right after the coup of September 19, 2006, we planned to launch a government in exile but a telephone call from Bangkok changed all that," Jakrapob Penkair, a former deputy chief of staff to premier Thaksin, told the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand Wednesday night.
Thaksin, Thailand's controversial populist prime minister between 2001 to 2006, was deposed by a coup while he was in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly.
He was reportedly shocked by the Thai military's political blitzkrieg against him and initially attempted to block the coup by declaring a state of emergency in a Thai TV broadcast that was quickly taken off the air.
The deposed premier at that point seriously considered setting up a government in exile at the United Nations in New York, according to Jakrapob, who was a government spokesman under Thaksin's first administration.
"It was not him who came up with the idea of a government in exile," said Jakrapob. "It came from some of us, including me."
Jakrapob claimed that Thaksin's loyalists informally approached several countries to see if they would endorse a government in exile "and they said they would."
But Thaksin nixed the notion after he received a telephone call from a mysterious person in Bangkok, whom Jakrapob refused to name, and flew to London where he has remained in self-exile since.
"When the crucial decision came, even he made the decision based on the patronage system," told correspondents in a prepared speech on "democracy versus patronage" in Thailand.
Jakrapob, a former TV presenter who joined Thaksin's first administration in 2001, was recently arrested for leading a demonstration outside the private home of former premier and current privy council president Prem Tinsulanonda.
Prem, 87, a former army commander-in-chief who led Thailand between 1979 to 1988 as an appointed prime minister, is now president of the privy council.
Deutsche Press Agentur