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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 101

Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra vowed to return to Thailand meanwhile Thai general upset over election results

Bangkok, 26 December, (Asiantribune.com): Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted Thai Prime Minister announced Tuesday that he would return to Thailand, possibly within weeks, after the victory of his allies People Power Party, (PPP) in weekend elections. Meanwhile reports emerges that the result of the election has upset the military's top brass, including army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda, who are worried about the People Power party (PPP) taking revenge for the Sept 19 coup last year. Thaksin Shinawatra who has spent much of his time in Hong Kong since last year's coup, was speaking after the victory Sunday of the People Power Party in the first elections since the military takeover in Thailand. Thaksin Shinawatra who has spent much of his time in Hong Kong since last year's coup, was speaking after the victory Sunday of the People Power Party in the first elections since the military takeover in Thailand.

But the former Prime Minster, who was forced out of office by the military in September 2006, also said he would prove himself innocent of corruption charges laid against him by the military junta after he was deposed.

Thaksin, who has spent much of his time in Hong Kong since last year's coup, was speaking after the victory Sunday of the People Power Party in the first elections since the military takeover in Thailand.

Official Results of Polling

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Election Commission confirmed that the People Power Party (PPP), aligned with ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, captured 233 of 480 seats in the House of Representatives to win last Sunday's national elections. In its announcement of the official poll results, the EC said the Democrat Party was second with 165 seats, while the Chart Thai Party finished third with 37, Puea Pandin 24, Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana 9, Matchimatippataya 7 and Pracharaj 5.

He confirmed that there would definitely be red cards from some candidates elected in the general election.

However, three People Power Party (PPP) candidates who won in last Sunday's election in Nakhon Ratchasima have been given a yellow card, on charges of involvement in a vote-buying scam.

Yellow cards and red cards are indicators certifying disqualification of elected candidates accused of wrongdoing.

An elected candidate who receives a red card will not be granted the seat, and will be banned from running in the by-election, already set by the EC for January 13, but those receiving yellow cards, however, are permitted to re-contest the seat in the by-election.

PPP led Coalition Government

In the meantime the General Secretary of PPP Surapong Suebwonglee announced Tuesday that three small parties have already decided to join a coalition government led by People Power Party.

The three splinter parties are believed to be the Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana Party, which has nine MPs, the Matchimathipataya Party with seven MPs, and the Pracharaj Party with five MPs.

Dr. Surapong added that two additional parties might possibly jump onto the PPP bandwagon to make a stronger coalition government with a total of 315 legislators at its command. It is believed that the two parties are Chart Thai with 37 MPs and Puea Pandin with 24 MPs.

Thai Army Generals Upset by the Election Results

The result of the election has upset the military's top brass, including army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda, who are worried about the People Power party (PPP) taking revenge for the Sept 19 coup last year.

The uneasy atmosphere in the barracks was revealed yesterday by military sources as the PPP, a reincarnation of the Thai Rak Thai party (TRT) toppled by the coup, moves closer to coming to power. Top officers are worried, particularly about their futures in the military reshuffle next year.

Gen Anupong suddenly became irritated when asked by reporters to comment on what would happen to the army under a PPP-led government.

''I'll not answer. I'll say nothing,'' the army chief said.

Gen Anupong, one of the key men in the coup, had earlier said he would not be worried if the PPP forms the next government and ruled out the possibility of another coup.

He made it clear when he assumed the top army job in September that the army would not interfere in politics, a stance which earned him the tag of ''good guy'' from PPP leader Samak Sundaravej.

Analysts expect Gen Anupong to lead the army until the military reshuffle in September next year and then be transferred to head the Supreme Command or to become permanent secretary for defence.

Outgoing deputy prime minister and former chairman of the Council for National Security (CNS) Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin could also be prevented from playing any active role in politics, a military source said.

Gen Sonthi reportedly rushed off to meet Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda late at night on Election Day. Gen Sonthi led the coup group which toppled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was alleged to be involved in massive corruption, as Mr Thaksin was attending a United Nations meeting in New York.

Other CNS members, including air force chief ACM Chalit Phukphasuk, permanent secretary for defence Gen Winai Phattiyakul, navy commander Adm Sathiraphan Keyanont, supreme commander Gen Boonsrang Niampradit and deputy permanent secretary for defense Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr, may escape any retribution from a new government as they will retire next year.
Some military sources said a PPP-led government, if successfully formed, would not resort to harsh action against the military because it would lead to a serious conflict. However, there will be changes at the top in the military.

Anti-Thaksin Group

Anti-Thaksin groups are split over the outcome of Sunday's general election, which saw the People Power party (PPP) backed by ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra winning the most seats. While the Campaign for Popular Democracy (CPD) accepted the election results, the Isan People Network planned to protest against any prospective coalition government led by the PPP.

The CPD, led by Secretary-general Suriyasai Katasila, declared it had accepted the results of the general election in a statement yesterday, but warned the deposed prime minister to stay out of politics. The former prime minister should cut out any intervention in politics and respect the country's judiciary system so Thai politics can move forward, the CPD said.

With the PPP winning the majority of House seats, the CPD said it is ready to accept and respect the poll results and also the new government formed after the election.

The CPD will cooperate and support the new government, but at the same time will continue to act as a political watchdog outside the parliament.

However, the CPD will oppose any plan to grant an amnesty to Thaksin and the other 110 former executives of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai party (TRT) and any plan to dissolve the Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC).

These plans would damage the public's trust in the judicial system and could lead to further rifts in the country, it warned.

Pibhop Dhongchai, a former key member of the People's Alliance for Democracy, warned Mr Samak on Sunday night not to try to protect Mr Thaksin or shut down the ASC because that would bring back the political turmoil before the Sept 19, 2006, coup.

''The People Power party cannot cite its majority vote to protect Mr Thaksin. It should learn the lesson in which the Thai Rak Thai party cited its 19 million votes and did wrong by evading tax and having conflicts of interest,'' he said.

- Asian Tribune -

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