The return of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra after years of self-exile is seen as the end of a chapter in Thailand’s politics. Thaksin, the founder and de facto leader of the Pheu Thai party, has returned to Thailand after 15 years and was sentenced to eight years in prison upon his return. Even though he won’t directly return to power due to his age, analysts believe he will still have a significant influence on Thai politics from behind the scenes. Thaksin’s party, Pheu Thai, elected property mogul Srettha Thavisin as the new prime minister, who will lead a coalition of 11 parties.
Despite the conclusive vote for the new prime minister, the success of the coalition government’s policies remains uncertain. The Pheu Thai party plans to support proposals such as a one-off cash handout, an increase in the minimum wage, and military reforms. However, conservative parties are expected to oppose certain policies, particularly military and charter reforms. While the short-term outlook for Thailand is positive, doubts remain regarding the government’s ability to implement meaningful economic reforms.
Although Thaksin has been sentenced to eight years in prison, analysts doubt that he will serve the full term. Many expect him to be granted a presidential pardon, especially considering his importance and influence in Thai politics. Thaksin has been moved to a police hospital due to health concerns. If he is released from prison before his sentence ends, analysts anticipate his more invested involvement in politics, albeit in a backstage role as a dealmaker and influential figure supporting the Pheu Thai party. Thaksin’s return marks a significant development in Thai politics, with his continued influence expected in the years to come.