In Thailand

Three Thai PMs, one dinner

Written by World Events

From left : PM Srettha Thavisin, former PMs; Thaksin Shinawatra and Somchai Wongsawat

A dinner being held in Chiang Mai tonight is far from ordinary, as it involves three prime ministers — one incumbent and two former ones. They are Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and his predecessors, Thaksin Shinawatra and Somchai Wongsawat.

The three are meeting as Thaksin, who is on parole, visits the city, his hometown, to engage in various activities, including paying respects to his late parents.

Thaksin was sentenced to a prison term on corruption charges, but he spent only a few hours in jail before being transferred to the Police General Hospital.

He stayed in the hospital for 180 days, citing serious illnesses, before being released on parole last week. His youngest daughter, Paetongtarn, who is also the Pheu Thai party leader, claimed that her father was suffering from a “grave ailment”. A few days later, however, her father travelled to Chiang Mai and attended many functions.

Srettha, the incumbent leader, said he is in Chiang Mai until Monday, to observe PM 2.5 problems and forest fires and to meet Thaksin. He will go to Payao province on Monday afternoon and host a mobile Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Srettha was the prime ministerial candidate of the Pheu Thai, a party that Thaksin helped to found. This will be Srettha’s second meeting with Thaksin, as he met him at Thaksin’s residence in Bangkok a few days after he was released on parole.

Somchai Wongsawat, who served as prime minister from September to December 2008, is Thaksin’s brother-in-law, as he was married to Yaowapa.

His term in office was marked by political turmoil and protests by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), also known as the ‘Yellow Shirts.’

Somchai’s tenure ended when the Constitutional Court dissolved the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and two coalition parties for electoral fraud, leading to his removal from office.


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