Yingluck Shinawatra

Thaksin should stay out of Thai politics, says panel chief

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 September, 2012, 1:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2012, 1:32pm

The head of an independent Thai reconciliation panel called on former leader Thaksin Shinawatra to stay out of the country’s turbulent politics ahead of a key report on deadly 2010 protests on Monday.

Former attorney general Kanit Nanakorn said the kingdom’s current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra should be left to run the country without interference from her brother Thaksin, who was ousted in a military coup and lives abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption.

“I think that Thaksin should stop his role in politics,” Kanit said in an interview aired on Thai television on Monday, adding that Yingluck had “worked well” and he “should let her manage Thailand”.

The comments come as Kanit’s Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) prepare to release its final report on the country’s worst political violence in decades two years ago.

More than 90 people died in clashes between the army and pro-Thaksin “Red Shirt” demonstrators during the huge Bangkok rallies against the former government, which was swept out of power by Yingluck’s party in elections last year.

The violence was the most dramatic manifestation of deep political fissures that have racked Thailand for more than six years, with the ouster of Thaksin by royalist generals in 2006 and crippling mass protests by both the Reds and their establishment-backed rivals, the Yellow Shirts.

Kanit’s appointment by the last government, which presided over the Red Shirt crackdown, was originally criticised as a potential “whitewash” by Yingluck’s Puea Thai Party.

But the nine-member commission, led by respected legal academic Kanit, has appeared to be prepared to criticise both sides.

Earlier this year it called for reform of the country’s extremely sensitive royal insult laws, which rights groups said were used as a political tool by the former government against its critics.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused the army of using “excessive and unnecessary lethal force” in the 2010 crackdown. There have been no prosecutions over the killings.