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Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra came out to say that the ‘democratic front’ will surely win more than 300 seats in the parliament no matter what option the coalition government lead by the Phalang Pracharath party chooses.
“The next elections would not be like every other one we have seen,” the self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin said from his residence in Dubai.
Thaksin, who holds his bi-weekly talk on social media platform Clubhouse, which is also broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube, said that regardless of what formula the government of 2014 coup leader Prayut Chan-o-cha uses, the outcome would be that the pro-democracy parties will surely be able to get more than 300 seats in the 500 seat parliament.
“This election will not be like every other one,” Thaksin claimed that, in the elections that are set to take place in 2023, people would choose the right political party for themselves, regardless of which party they receive the bribes from.
Vote buying, which has been an issue raised by the anti-Thaksin camp for more than a decade to justify the coups against the Thaksin aligned governments, continues to remain rampant even though General Prayut had pledged to rid of such practices as part of the ‘reform’.
Questions are still floating around on which rule would be used during the 2023 elections even though there are only 3 more days of parliamentary meeting (August 4, August 9 and August 10) remaining. After these 3 dates, the bill to amend the electoral bill will be dropped because the parliament will be in recess and if the bill is not passed by August 15th, 2022, it will automatically be dumped.
The debate rages between using the 1 ballot paper for the polls (as was the case in 2019 elections) or 2 ballot papers (like in previous elections prior to 2019 elections). There is also the issue of division of the ‘Party List’ MPs which could be by 100 or by 500. As of now the 2nd reading of the bill passed on July 6th, 2022, passed for a division by 500 but there are talks of reverting back to 100 (as was the case when it was passed in the 1st reading) in the parliament.
“In the end, the government still doesn’t know what to do. Even just a strategy to win the election by being able to take advantage of others to the fullest, they still can’t figure out,” Thaksin said.
Returning in 2022 or 2023
Thaksin, who earlier this year had pledged to return to Thailand ‘within this year’ had on his birthday made a statement to the people of northeast, the bastion of the support base of Thaksin, that he would celebrate his next birthday (July 26th 2023) with the people of the northeast.
This prompted many to think that Thaksin has ‘postponed’ his planned trip back home and he came out to clarify that that was not what he meant when he said that he would celebrate the birthday with the people of Isarn (northeast).
“What I said was that I will celebrate the next birthday with the people, that does not mean that I will return by that time, it means that I will be there with the people but when I come back is something only Paetongtarn will reveal,” he said.
“The reason people are confused is because I told the birthday party hosts that they wouldn’t have to do this (hold a birthday party online for him) next year. Next year, we’ll do it in person because I would already be back.”
Thaksin has not step foot in Thailand since he went to ‘watch’ the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has been living in Dubai ever since that trip out of Thailand. He has been charged with many cases and has a jail term after allegations were made against him on an enquiry set by the coup makers of the 2006 coup.