Thailand’s former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has announced his intention to return to his homeland on August 10, ending 15 years of self-imposed exile, his daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra said on Wednesday.
Paetongtarn posted a message on her Facebook page saying that her father had decided to come back to Thailand after being away for so long, and that he was looking forward to seeing his supporters and friends.
Thaksin, who was ousted by a military coup in 2006, has been living abroad since 2008, when he fled the country to avoid a two-year jail sentence for abuse of power. He has been accused of various corruption charges by the Thai authorities, which he denies.
Thaksin remains a divisive figure in Thai politics, with his loyalists and opponents clashing in several rounds of protests and violence over the years. His sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, also became prime minister in 2011, but was removed by another coup in 2014.
Thaksin’s announcement comes amid a political crisis in Thailand, where Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is facing mounting pressure from pro-democracy protesters and a worsening coronavirus outbreak. Prayut, who led the 2014 coup, has rejected calls for his resignation and a new constitution.
It is unclear how Thaksin’s return will affect the situation, or whether he will face arrest upon arrival. The Thai government has not commented on his plans yet. Some of his supporters have expressed joy and excitement, while some of his critics have warned of possible unrest and chaos.