Thai king revokes royal decorations of ousted ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra

Exiled former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra being interviewed by Agence France-Presse in Hong Kong. (AFP)

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has revoked royal decorations that had been awarded to ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a document published on Saturday in the royal gazette showed.

The king’s order came less than a week after the pro-Thaksin political party Pheu Thai, Thailand’s main opposition group, stood against a party supporting the ruling military junta in disputed national elections. Officials have yet to release the full results.

Publicly revoking Thaksin’s royal decorations could discredit him, and perhaps his affiliated party, in the eyes of many Thais, because the monarchy is revered without question in Thai culture.

The monarchy is above politics in Thailand, but that tradition was tested last month when the king’s sister accepted the nomination to run for prime minister for another pro-Thaksin party. The king swiftly declared her candidacy “inappropriate” and both the princess and the party were disqualified.

Saturday’s royal command to revoke Thaksin’s decorations was for his 2008 corruption conviction and for fleeing the country to escape a two-year prison sentence, the document said.

“King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun issued a royal command to revoke royal decorations, because Thaksin Shinawatra was sentenced to jail by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders, in addition to many other accusations, and he fled the kingdom, which is a highly inappropriate behavior,” it read.

The palace was not immediately available for further comment.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54