Jul 4, 2014

Thailand - Thai game plan: Drive Shinawatras into exile

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In the wake of the coup, different agencies investigate former PM Yingluck

In November of last year, a Thai businessman with close connections to the leaders of the Bangkok protests that eventually drove the Pheu Thai government from power said the real reason for the protest wasn’t  just to oust the government.

The real motivation, he said, was to drive every trace of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra not just from power but from the country and to eradicate any vestigial remnants of his influence. Now, with the coup that took place on May 22 and a military government installed, government agencies are going after Thaksin’s sister Yingluck, the former Pheu Thai prime minister, and political figures close to her.

Bangkok sources say the plan is to drive her into exile with her brother, put her in jail or give her a sentence that would prohibit her from entering politics again when the junta allows new elections, probably in October 2015.

“This has been the plan from the start. What they want to do is hang a criminal conviction on [Yingluck] and compel her to flee,” said a longtime observer of Thai politics. “I think they want to force the Shinawatras and other related clans out of the country.”

Getting rid of the family is a mantra for the business community and the elites in Bangkok, who view Thaksin’s social policies, put in place when he came into office in 2001, as ruining the country. They were rumored to have offered Thaksin a chance to liquidate his assets in Thailand when the conflict started last year.

Continue reading at Asia Sentinel

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