Friday, July 1, 2011

Thai PM accuses rivals of hidden agenda

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK - THAILAND'S embattled premier on Thursday lashed out against his opponents three days ahead of a key election, accusing them of talking of reconciliation as a 'cloak' to bring back his arch-rival.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's Democrat Party campaign is struggling to match the appeal of the opposition Puea Thai, unofficially led from abroad by Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted from power by a military coup in 2006.

Puea Thai's main candidate for the top job is Mr Thaksin's sister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has discussed an amnesty for convicted politicians to bring reconciliation to Thailand - which could pave the way for her brother's return.

'Reconciliation is now being used as a cloak for amnesty for Mr Thaksin so far as Puea Thai is concerned. That is not right,' Mr Abhisit told AFP in an interview at the Democrat headquarters in Bangkok, ahead of the pivotal vote on Sunday.

'We think it's unfair to the Thai people for a political party to place Mr Thaksin's interests before the people's or the country's.'

The controversial Mr Thaksin lives abroad to escape a jail term imposed in absentia for corruption, and is also wanted on terrorism charges. -- AFP

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