June 7, 2007 / 6:34 AM / 12 years ago

Thaksin says will go home when Thai democracy returns

TOKYO (Reuters) - Ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra says he will return to his native land when democracy is restored and spend his time teaching and taking part in charity work.

Ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (L) speaks during a news conference as a guest professor at Takushoku University in Tokyo June 7, 2007. Thaksin says he will return to his native land when democracy is restored and spend his time teaching and taking part in charity work. REUTERS/Toshiyuki Aizawa

In Japan to accept an invitation to become a guest lecturer at a Tokyo university, a haggard-looking Thaksin told a news conference on Thursday that he also expected political normalcy to return soon.

Last week, a Thai tribunal banned Thaksin — unseated last September in a bloodless coup — from politics for five years and disbanded his Thai Rak Thai (Thais love Thais) party.

“The government has promised in December elections, and now they already allow the political gatherings, and I think the democracy should return back to Thailand soon.

“When democracy returns to Thailand, Thailand will prosper again and I will go back to contribute to the country as a normal citizen.”

Thaksin, who now lives in London, may face trial on charges of corruption, one of the justifications given for the coup.

Thailand’s cabinet agreed on Tuesday to let political parties resume activities, but Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said last week that his government had no plan to propose early amnesties for Thaksin and his party leaders.

Thaksin said last week that he accepted the decision banning him from politics, but urged his supporters to stay involved.

Analysts said they expected a stepped-up campaign to rebuild his image and popularity among urban voters, many of whom are fed up with the gaffe-prone, post-coup interim government.

Thaksin declined to answer questions about politics at the news conference, which was held to announce his appointment as an occasional guest lecturer at Tokyo’s Takushoku University, and said he wants to concentrate on education in the future.

He hoped that his lectures, the first of which is set for July 5, could eventually lead to the establishment of a research institute on Asian economies based in Japan.

“I don’t want my accumulated knowledge and experience to die with me, I want to share it with young people,” he said.

“I would like to spend the rest of my life in education and charitable activities.”

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