Leaders’ Meeting in Hong Kong Sparks Speculation on Government Formation and Thaksin’s Return to Thailand

News reports that Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul met with former PM Thaksin Shinawatra in Hong Kong before Thaksin’s latest announcement of his return to Thailand on August 10 have dominated the airwaves.

Following the alleged meeting, the Pheu Thai’s meeting with coalition partners on Tuesday was canceled, and the prime minister voting that was set for Thursday has been postponed.

This has fueled speculation that a deal has been struck for the Pheu Thai Party to form a government with the Bhumjaithai Party, while the Move Forward Party (MFP) will go into the opposition for now.

Meanwhile, Thaksin will get to return to Thailand.

Reports state that Thanathorn flew to Hong Kong on Monday via flight CX 700 before meeting with Thaksin on Tuesday, and then he flew back to Thailand via flight HX 773 on the same day.

Yesterday, Pannika Wanich, another Progressive Movement leader, said Thanathorn is in Bangkok refuting the rumor but evidence may prove otherwise.

Thanathorn, who is usually friendly with the press, refused to answer the question whether he flew to meet Thaksin or not.

Despite all these speculations, MFP secretary-general and Pheu Thai secretary-general have both denied knowledge about the meeting, citing that both parties are still looking to form a government together.

Pheu Thai said the reason why they canceled the meeting was that they have made little progress with their talks with external parties and the senators.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha said that the PM voting was postponed because of the MFP’s petition to ask the Constitutional Court to rule whether the 394 parliamentarians’ decision to reject MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s renomination was constitutional or not.

The court is set to meet on August 3 to decide whether they will accept the petition or not.
The next PM voting has yet to be set.

Corrections Department director-general Aryut Sinthoppan said yesterday that the Immigration Police will arrest Thaksin once he arrives at Don Mueang Airport since there is an outstanding warrant for him.

According to normal procedures, he will then be transferred to court to request an order for his detention before being sent to prison, most likely to the Bangkok Remand Prison, Aryut said.

Thaksin is facing up to 10 years in jail for multiple cases in which he was convicted by the Supreme Court. He said the charges were politically motivated.


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