Thai PM says to push for Thaksin amnesty in 2 yrs

BANGKOK Fri Feb 8, 2008 6:42pm IST

Thailand's Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej speaks during an interview at the People Power Party (PPP) headquarters in Bangkok February 8, 2008. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang

Thailand's Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej speaks during an interview at the People Power Party (PPP) headquarters in Bangkok February 8, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Sukree Sukplang

Related Topics

BANGKOK (Reuters) - New Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Friday he would push for the lifting of the political ban on ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra and his top party officials in two years.

"They didn't do anything wrong," Samak said, referring to Thaksin and the 110 other senior members of his Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party barred from politics for five years for election fraud.

Thaksin was removed in a September 2006 coup and now lives in exile in London and Hong Kong.

"So if we can give them amnesty, we should give," said Samak, who came to power as a self-confessed proxy for the still-exiled billionaire politician.

With a sympathetic administration in place in Bangkok, Thaksin looks likely to return to Thailand some time in May, although Samak said there was no question of the government trying to quash a corruption case filed against him and his wife.

"Thaksin must come back to face the court," the 72-year-old former Bangkok governor told foreign reporters two days after the official swearing in of a cabinet packed with Thaksin loyalists and their relatives.

"We must believe in the courts," he said.

The unashamedly right-wing Samak also vowed to resurrect Thaksin's 2003 "war on drugs", in which 2,500 alleged dealers were killed.

"It must be the same," Samak said of a campaign in which human rights groups accused Thaksin of giving police a licence to kill. Thaksin's administration said most of the deaths were the result of internecine drug turf wars.

Public concern about rising levels of narcotics abuse, especially in relatively poor rural areas, was a big issue in the Dec. 23 election in which Samak's People Power Party came within a whisker of an outright majority.

"Why would we let this happen in our country?" he said.

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

AFGHANISTAN ELECTION

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Deadly gun attack in eastern Ukraine shakes fragile Geneva accord.  Full Article 

Everest Avalanche

Everest Avalanche

Search ends for missing on Everest, some Sherpas call for shutdown.  Full Article 

Ferry Tragedy

Ferry Tragedy

Prosecutors extend Korea ferry captain's detention as death toll mounts.  Full Article 

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Pope presides at Vatican Mass leading Catholics into Easter.  Full Article 

Twitter Blockade

Twitter Blockade

Turkey Twitter accounts appear blocked after Erdogan court action.  Full Article 

Egypt Election

Egypt Election

Former army chief, leftist are only candidates in Egypt presidential poll.  Full Article 

Journalists Freed

Journalists Freed

Joyful homecoming for 4 French journalists after Syria captivity.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage