Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, currently in exile, continues to polarise the people of his country as the protests across Thailand show. Ousted in a coup in 2006, Shinawatra enjoys popular support with the rural Thai voter, but remains controversial among the middle and upper class citizens.
Thailand’s current Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who also happens to be the ousted premier’s sister, could not have chosen a more inopportune moment to try and engineer an amnesty for her brother, allowing him to enter the country and blend in without serving a jail term for previous alleged misdemeanours, which include charges of corruption. The country is split over whether elections are the answer to the current crisis.
The government, chosen through popular vote, has offered to resign in the hope that new elections will give it a fresh mandate. The current protests are, however, being engineered by those who do not want polls that could permit Shinawatra to return on a popular mandate. The thought of the former premier’s reappearance will not extinguish the flames of this national uprising. As for the Thai people — they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.