Embattled Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will not seek another term after the upcoming general elections, a senior member of his party said yesterday.
The comment came from Chakaphan Yomchinda of the Thai Rak Thai party, who interviewed Thaksin last week for a three-part television program.
"The prime minister did not speak clearly about his political future but as one of his subordinates I can read his signal clearly: He will not take the position of prime minister after the next elections," Chakaphan said before the first part of the interview was aired on Channel 5 yesterday.
The opposition Democrat Party, which has been fighting for months to oust Thaksin, said it was skeptical and wasn't paying attention to his "political maneuvers."
"The Democrat Party doesn't care any more what Thaksin says, he is not someone who keeps his word," said Suthep Thueksuban, secretary general of the opposition party.
"We are focusing on preparing our party for the next election," he said.
Thaksin has been widely accused of corruption, abuse of power and seeking to erode Thailand's democratic institutions.
Several months of street protests forced him to temporarily step down from his position, but he returned on a caretaker basis pending elections which will probably take place before the end of the year.
Chakaphan, who speaks often for the prime minister, said Thaksin would talk about his political future in the interviews scheduled for today and tomorrow. The interview yesterday focused on the prime minister's family, hobbies and accomplishments over the past five years.
In a short passing reference, Thaksin said the "prime minister may change after the elections."
Thaksin, who is now on a foreign tour, said in the interview that his life has been "uncomfortable" since an alleged attempt to assassinate him last month.
Five members of the army have been arrested in connection with the alleged plot to explode a powerful bomb near his residence. Some critics accuse the government of cooking up the plot for its own political purposes.
"I lead my life normally, but it is uncomfortable since I have to follow rules about security. I have to think about my security and the dignity of the country," he said.
"You can imagine what the reputation of the country would be like if its leader was assassinated," he said.
Thaksin said his security team advises him to alter his daily routine and change the venues of his golf games.
Thailand has had no working legislature and only a caretaker government since Thaksin dissolved parliament in February for snap elections in April. He called the polls three years ahead of schedule in a bid to defuse the mounting protests against him.
New elections have been scheduled for Oct. 15 but there are widespread doubts that they can be organized in time. New election commissioners were only put in place last week.
Thaksin's party won the April elections, but the three parliamentary opposition parties boycotted the polls and millions of voters marked an abstention box on their ballots as a protest against the prime minister.
Because a minimum vote rule was not met in some of the country's constituencies, winners could not be certified, and parliament could not be convened.
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,
An Australian graduate student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year said that he was threatened with a firing-squad execution and told not even US President Donald Trump could save his “sorry arse.” Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators told him was military espionage. Sigley, 30, was studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June last year, sparking alarm. A fluent speaker of Korean, he had written articles for several publications