The return of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra after 15 years of self-exile marks a significant milestone in Thai politics. Although Thaksin was sentenced to eight years in prison upon his return, analysts believe that he will still exert his influence from behind the scenes as the de facto leader of the Pheu Thai party. Thaksin’s return coincided with the election of property mogul Srettha Thavisin as prime minister, who will lead a coalition of 11 parties. The Pheu Thai party is expected to support various proposals, including economic stimulus measures and constitutional reforms. However, the success of these policies remains uncertain, and conservative opposition may pose challenges.
Despite his prison sentence, it is unlikely that Thaksin will serve the full term, according to analysts. Many predict that he will be granted a presidential pardon. Thaksin has been moved to a police hospital due to health concerns. If released earlier than the eight years, Thaksin may become more actively involved in politics, although he is expected to take a more backseat role. Analysts believe that he will continue to play a significant role in Thai politics, making deals and exerting influence from behind the scenes to support the Pheu Thai party’s agenda.
Thaksin’s return and potential ongoing involvement in politics signal the closing of a chapter in Thai politics, while also raising questions about the future direction of the country. Despite uncertainties surrounding the new government’s ability to push through significant reforms, there is optimism in the short term. Thaksin’s return has undoubtedly disrupted the political landscape and will continue to shape the course of Thai politics.