Controversial former PM to return to Thailand Thursday

Thai Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will return home from self-imposed exile on Thursday for the first time since his overthrow in a military coup in September 2006, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Controversial former PM to return to Thailand Thursday
Thaksin will surrender to the police on his arrival to face corruption charges, attorney Pichit Chuenban told Thai television.

But his legal problems have been overshadowed by the victory of the People Power Party, which is viewed as his proxy and now dominates the coalition government, in parliamentary elections on December 23.

A website dedicated to Thaksin claimed he will return Thursday to a hero's welcome.

Thaksin, who his retained his popularity with much of the population since his overthrow, will face criminal charges of corruption and abuse of power.

His wife Pojamon, who faces similar corruption charges, was smoothly bailed out when she returned home a month ago, in what was seen as a test run for Thaksin's return.

The pair are accused to abusing their privileged positions when in power to buy a huge swath of land in central Bangkok from a government agency. Thaksin is also accused of hiding assets.

Analysts said it was not clear how much the powers that distrust Thaksin in the military, the older elites and in the palace will tolerate a resurgent Thaksin.

Thaksin and 110 of his colleagues were banned from politics for five years following a constitutional court ruling last year. The ban remains pending moves for its removal by the current pro-Thaksin government.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Şubat 2008, 18:33