Sydney: Fugitive Thai ex-prime minister
Thaksin Shinawatra has denied he wants to be leader again and insists youngest sister Yingluck, who is challenging for the
post, is not his puppet.
In a rare television interview at his luxury home in
Dubai, he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation`s
"Lateline" programme he was confident his Puea Thai party
would win elections due in July.
"According to the polls of many institutions, including
our interim report, we are confident that we are winning," said Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and lives abroad to escape a jail term for graft.
The polls will pit his sister Yingluck Shinawatra against
his arch-foe, current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of the
elite-backed Democrat Party, in what is expected to be a
closely fought battle.
Yingluck is politically inexperienced and many in
Thailand feel her nomination as the opposition candidate for
premier confirms Thaksin`s central role in the kingdom`s
political landscape despite living in exile.
Thaksin, hailed by many rural and working class Thais for
his populist policies for the masses but loathed by the
Bangkok-based elite, which sees him as corrupt and
authoritarian, admitted he still has influence.
"Well, I may influence in terms of the ideas and thinking
because I have more experience than others and then I just
want to see them have success," he told the programme which
aired last night.