Thaksin Injects Self Into Thai Election

Thaksin Shinawatra won’t be on the ballot when Thailand finally elects a new government on December 23, but he’ll be campaigning nonetheless. Last week his lawyer announced plans to release a documentary about Thaksin’s post-coup life for circulation in Thailand during the election. Clearly, Thaksin hopes to sway voters to elect his allies in the People’s Power Party.

Thaksin’s exploits as chairman of Manchester City apparently will be a sizable part of the documentary. City’s impressive on-field success this term, in short, is being leveraged to attempt to influence Thai politics. This is exactly the kind of thing we were afraid of when Thaksin bought the club.

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3 Comments on “Thaksin Injects Self Into Thai Election”

  1. Egalitarian Says:

    And what happens after PPP win the election and we are expendable?

  2. Adiz-Bangkok Says:

    Perhaps the more relevant and urgent question should be: Then what happens after the Thai elections and Thaksin is judicially tried AND convicted (extradited or Thaksin voluntarily surrenders), will the Manchester City adoring Thaksin fans demand his pardon so that Thaksin can be re-exiled back to MC?

  3. Jason Willis Says:

    Desperate cocktail of money politics, spin and football

    The globalisation of football sometimes has even more of a sinister spin to it than meets the eye.

    Last Friday Manchester City signed Suree Sukha and two other Thai footballers in what one of Thailand’s English-speaking newspapers, The Nation, headlined in its editorial as “A dreamed-for Thai presence in the Premier League comes with political implications that are hard to ignore”. All in all, it bore all the hallmarks of Thaksin Shinawatra’s trumpeted public profile to clear the way for his return from exile.

    The Nation is probably the most vocal opponents of the former Thai prime minister in exile but wrote in Sunday’s editorial that “…from a footballing perspective, [it is] an occasion that the whole country shall celebrate,” calling the signings “a mixed blessing”.

    And indeed they did. On Erikkson’s arrival, emotions ran so high that some City supporters in Bangkok were promptly arrested for overlaying the club’s logo over the Thai national flag.

    Across the page in an Opinion piece, one wrote that “…[Thaksin] continues his sinister plan to regain power through nominees and cronies with large funds, while retaining publicity through his purchase of Manchester City Football Club.”

    Casting a glance further down the page to “Humanity Wrap” another commented that: “As for getting off scot-free from all the corruption charges he would undoubtedly face on his return, some members privately conceded it would have to take one hell of a skiing accident by members of the Assets Examination Committee for this to occur.”

    The reality on the ground is that Thai people are again being duped by the timing of the signings.

    It is now over a year since the military ousted Mr Thaksin from power in a miltary coup. Later, all 111 excutive members of his party, the Thai Rak That (Thai Loves Thai), were banned from politics for five years. Only they weren’t that banned as most went on to form new political parties.

    One of them, with an even more ludicrous party name, the People Power Party, led by an uncouth and abusive ultra-right-wing, self-confessed nominee, Samak Sundaravej, has pledged to win the upcoming general election on December 23 on Thaksin’s behalf.

    You may be aksing: what has all this got to do with the globalisation of football and the Premiership. Well, it’s because the beloved game has been ruthlessly manipulated to engage in money politics and spin. And the stakes couldn’t be higher.

    Almost half of Mr Thaksin’s fortune, almost $1bn, has been frozen. Moveover, the Thai interim government has been in negotiations with the Home Office over his extradition on corruption charges.

    Should the new party he is bankrolling be elected at the end of the year, there’s a high probability that his assets will be unfrozen and all charges against him dropped. This would lead to Thaksin’s return to Thailand to seek revenge against those that derailed his heinous crimes of self-serving corruption and human rights abuses.

    What is sad to see is an English football club and, by implication its manager, being so cynically exploited in a privately-sponsored publicity fanfare.

    The “Untouchable Politician”, sitting smugly in his Eastlands exile, is just waiting for the outcome of what some see as a forgone conclusion of his party’s nominees being voted back into power, using Suree and Erickkson as his pawns until he can settle some old scores and resume his rightful place as Supreme Commander of spin.

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