Thaksin has announced that he will resume prime ministerial duties as of next week, saying that “If I don’t work, the country will be in trouble”.
He would be focusing on five issues on his return – the economy, soaring oil prices, a “new” narcotics problem, a worsening situation in the South and the upcoming celebrations for the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne.
His announcement of return seemed to have the tacit support of the Chart Thai Party. Its deputy leader Weerasak Khowsurat was reported to have said, “If we compare the country to a ship, Thaksin is the captain … Now, the ship is heading for an iceberg and the people cannot wait any longer …” He added further that Thaksin must resign or “come back to work”.
However, there are others that are adamant that Thaksin should not return to politics at all. The Democrat Party was quick to denounce Thaksin’s return to office, alleging that Thaksin will pull the strings “with the ultimate goal of winning the next election and retaining power”.
In any case, Thaksin had gone ahead and taken up tackling the continued violence in the South as his first task as he chaired his first official meeting. Indeed, violence in the South had not shown signs of subsiding and a recent attack against two female Buddhist teachers had led to about 100 schools in Narathiwat being closed for a week because of fears of more attacks. The Narathiwat governor and the Fourth Army Commander for the area have expressed regret for the continued violence and reportedly said they are willing to be replaced.
In the bigger picture, no dates have been set for the elections after the Courts rejected the October 22 date set by the Election Commission. The political stalemate looked set to drag on for sometime as opposition parties develop new alliances and worked out more clearly their party platform and policy alternatives in order to effectively challenge the Thai Rak Thai party and the Thaksin regime that was said to be “deeply rooted in the last five years” and will take some time for “period of cleansing” to create a new form of politics.
Thaksin to go back to work (Bangkok Post, 21 May 2006)
Southern army chief says he willing to be replaced (The Nation, 21 May 2006)
Some 100 schools in Narathiwat to closed indefinitely (The Nation, 21 May 2006)
Atmosphere rough as Thaksin seeks smooth re-entry (The Nation, 21 May 2006)
Thaksin takes over southern security issue (The Bangkok Post, 22 May 2006)
Long Road to political stability (The Nation, 22 May 2006)
Narathiwat governor seeks self-transfer (The Nation, 22 May 2006)
PM must work or quit: Chat Thai (The Nation, 22 May 2006)