PM Srettha joins dinner with Thaksin and Somchai in Chiang Mai

Photo courtesy of The Nation

In an extraordinary meeting, Srettha Thavisin, Thaksin Shinawatra and Somchai Wongsawat gathered for dinner last night in Chiang Mai.

The trio, led by current PM Srettha, are set to gather as Thaksin, on parole, returns to his hometown for various engagements, including paying homage to his late parents.

Thailand’s 23rd prime minister, Thaksin, despite a corruption conviction, barely tasted prison life before being whisked away to the Police General Hospital, where he spent a notable 180 days, citing grave health concerns, before his recent parole.

His daughter, Paetongtarn, Pheu Thai party leader, initially claimed her father’s ailment to be severe, yet Thaksin’s sudden travel to Chiang Mai and his flurry of activities contradicted the seriousness portrayed.

PM Srettha clarified his presence in Chiang Mai, citing concerns over environmental issues like PM 2.5 pollution and forest fires, alongside a scheduled rendezvous with Thaksin. His itinerary extends to Payao province on Monday and hosts a mobile Cabinet meeting the following day.

Notably, the 62 year old PM’s political journey intersects with Thaksin’s, given the former’s candidacy under the Pheu Thai banner, a party co-founded by the latter. This dinner marked their second face-to-face encounter, following their recent meeting at Thaksin’s Bangkok residence post-parole release.

Adding to the eclectic mix is Somchai Wongsawat, who took the prime ministerial mantle from September to December 2008. Somchai, married to Thaksin’s sister Yaowapa, faced a tumultuous term marred by the infamous Yellow Shirts protests orchestrated by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), reported Thai PBS World.

Somchai’s tenure came to an abrupt end when the Constitutional Court dissolved the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and its coalition allies over electoral misconduct, leading to his ousting from office.

ORIGINAL STORY: Former Thai PM Thaksin returns to Chiang Mai after 17 years

A remarkable event unfolded in Thailand’s northern city of Chiang Mai when former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned to his hometown.

Accompanied by his daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, who also leads the Pheu Thai party, and other family members, Thaksin arrived via private jet at precisely 9.28am on March 14.

On his arrival, the Deputy National Police Chief, Surachet Hakparn, extended a warm welcome.

Thaksin’s visit coincided with a series of events and engagements that included prominent politicians such as Thammanat Prompao, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and Nirat Pongsitthaworn, the Governor of Chiang Mai.

The day was filled with activities as per Thaksin’s itinerary. He began by releasing 30,000 fish into their natural habitat, proceeded to plant a tree, and later inspected water management at the Mae Sa. These events, reported by the national media, signified Thaksin’s commitment to environmental conservation.

Returning to Chiang Mai after 17 years of living abroad as a fugitive, Thaksin received a warm reception from locals and a group of Redshirts. Notably, the former prime minister displayed a cheerful demeanour despite wearing a soft cervical collar and having nurses at his beck and call, a reminder of his recent health challenges.

When questioned by the media about his health, the 74 year old former Thai PM responded succinctly, stating that he was on the path to recovery. This follows a prolonged illness that had previously exempted him from serving traditional jail time.

Instead, Thaksin controversially spent his sentence in a special suite within a hospital. This arrangement drew criticism from certain quarters but Thaksin is currently on parole, reported The Pattaya News.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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