Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said that no deal was struck between his Pheu Thai Party and former Deputy Agricultural Minister Thammanat Prompao to ouster the government before censure debates earlier this month.
Thammanat led a renegade faction of the ruling Palang Pracharat Party in an attempt to ouster Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha from power.
Rumours at the time pointed to a possible deal struck between Thammanat and Thaksin that would see Thammanat deposing Prayut and then push for a general amnesty that could have brought back Thaksin to Thailand. Thaksin is in self-imposed exile after a military coup toppled his government in 2006 and corruption charges were filed against him. He says the charges are politically motivated.
Speaking to a late-night Clubhouse forum on Tuesday night, Thaksin said that rumours he was paying billions for Thammanat to carry out his putsch, or that a deal had been made between him and the controversial ex-minister was “fake news.”
“The people that are spreading these rumours are buffalos,” he told his audience.
Thammanat was removed from his post by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha after the putsch attempt failed – partly due to moves Prayut made at the last minute to shore up his support.
Thaksin remarked that Prayut may live to regret removing Thammanat from his post because Thammanat was still a powerful figure inside the ruling party and that he had an ally in party leader Prawit Wongsuwan.
Thaksin said Prayut may have made “powerful enemies” and it could come back to haunt him before the next election.
Thammanat is seen by many as a key powerbroker inside the ruling Palang Pracharat Party and responsible for the party’s positive showing in local elections. There is now political gossip that either Thammanat or Prayut will have to form a new party before the next election due to the rift that has formed inside the party.
Thaksin ended the evening promising that he would return to Thailand eventually but stopped short of saying how or in what capacity.