From Matichon Weekly, October 12-18, 2018
Main cover reads: ‘Franchise’ of politics
[The Thai-language media have always openly discussed the battle royal between Thaksin and those trying to prevent his political return.]
Pheu Thai denies Thaksin links – Bangkok Post, October 24, 2018
…”Former [Pheu Thai] MPs meeting Thaksin overseas was because they have a personal respect for the ex-premier and their meetings were regarding personal matters. The party wasn’t involved,” he said…
Pheu Thai could be dissolved if Thaksin is found to be interfering, EC warns – The nation, October 24, 2018
…In an interview to Japanese TV channel NHK in Hong Kong last week, Thaksin made several comments about the upcoming election, including one predicting that Pheu Thai would win some 300 out of 500 seats in the House of Representatives. Thaksin is not a member of the party nor does he hold an executive post, but he is viewed as Pheu Thai’s patriarch and some say he has retained much influence among its politicians, with many of them referring to him as “Big Boss”.
Many Pheu Thai politicians including senior figures met Thaksin in Hong Kong earlier this month. Similar meetings took place in May in Singapore. The former leader has lived in self-imposed exile since 2008. While in Japan in March, Thaksin predicted a “landslide victory” for Pheu Thai in the next election, and earlier this year, he was also heard condemning party defectors and predicting their election loss…
[At least on the pro-Thaksin side, all the normal things were happening that one has repeatedly seen in the lead up to an election cycle.
These included Thaksin’s interviews with the foreign media to tout Pheu Thai’s future and paint the upcoming battle as one between democracy and military rule. Thaksin’s repeated overseas meetings with key Pheu Thai members have also been documented in the media–presumably to send the signal that Thaksin was still in charge and defectors from his party would pay the price.
Chavalit Yongjiyut, once again acting as a Thaksin mouthpiece, came forward to allude to a bombing campaign and warn the junta to step down.
There has also been months of posturing and open speculation about which family member Thaksin will choose to lead the Pheu Thai–or if he could even afford to continue this practice.
All these events were entirely typical for an election season. However, it did seem odd that Thaksin has been doing all the things he has before with such openness considering that the constitution and other rules have been specifically written to target Thaksin’s remote-control hold over Thai politics.]