Former Thai PM: No plans to return to leadership
In this April 26, 2010 file photo, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra waves as he walks out of a bank in Podgorica, Montenegro. A Thai court issued an arrest warrant Tuesday May 25, 2010. (AP / Risto Bozovic)
Published Tuesday, May 31, 2011 6:30AM EDT
SYDNEY - Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said he has no plans to return to leadership, and he predicted his sister will lead the nation's opposition party to victory in upcoming elections.
The battle between Yingluck Shinawatra, the opposition Pheu Thai Party's candidate for prime minister, and incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is expected to be close when the country heads to the polls July 3.
"According to the polls of many institutions, including our interim report, we are confident that we are winning," Thaksin told Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s "Lateline" program on Monday in an interview at his Dubai home.
Thaksin was deposed by a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption and disrespecting the nation's king. He fled the country to escape a prison sentence for violating a conflict of interest law -- a court decision he says was politically motivated.
Thaksin said Monday he has no plans to mount a campaign for a return to power, and would rather be a lecturer, play golf and spend time with his children.
"My youngest sister is already there, so no need for me to go back as a prime minister," he said.
Yingluck is generally viewed as a stand-in for Thaksin, who is popular with Thailand's poor and working classes.
In the interview, Thaksin denied suggestions his sister is his puppet, though he acknowledged the two are very similar.
"She my youngest sister. She work for me from the beginning," Thaksin said. "So I teach her, I train her. The working habit style is nearly exactly like me."