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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 10:08 GMT
Thaksin considers Thailand return
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra speaking to reporters in Hong Kong (25/12/07)
Mr Thaksin has lived in exile since the September 2006 coup
Former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who was forced from power by a military coup more than a year ago, says he is considering returning home from exile.

He was speaking to reporters in Hong Kong after the party he backed emerged from weekend general elections with the largest number of seats in parliament.

Mr Thaksin said he wanted to prove himself innocent of corruption charges brought against him by the military.

But he insisted that he did not want to make a return to politics.

He did however say he would be willing to act as a political adviser to the People Power Party (PPP) - made up of his supporters and political allies - if asked.

"If they want my opinion and ideas, then I will give it to them," Mr Thaksin said.

"I really want to go back as a normal citizen. Enough is enough for politics," he added.

He told the news conference he would start "exploring options" for a return to Thailand as early as mid-February.

Mr Thaksin, the owner of Manchester City football club, has resided in the UK since being forced from power.

Bloodless coup

According to the latest results, the PPP - which campaigned on a pledge to bring Mr Thaksin back into Thailand's political scene - has managed to secure 233 of the 480 seats in the lower house of parliament.

Its main rival, the Democrat Party, won 165, followed by Chart Thai with 37.

POST-COUP TIMELINE
September 2006: Coup overthrows Thaksin Shinawatra
October 2006: Retired General Surayud Chulanont is appointed interim leader
May 2007: Court bans Mr Thaksin from politics for five years, and dissolves his party
August 2007: Voters approve a new constitution
December 2007: Election held

The PPP claims it has enough backing to form a coalition, even though it has not gained enough seats to rule outright.

The rival Democrat party wants to form its own coalition and keep the PPP out of power.

The election was the first since the 2006 bloodless coup which removed Mr Thaksin from power.

Since the coup, the country has been ruled by a military-appointed interim administration.

In May the courts banned Mr Thaksin from taking part in politics for five years and dissolved his party, Thai Rak Thai.

But many of Thai Rak Thai's members decided to continue in politics, and formed the PPP.

PPP leader Samak Sundaravej has openly said that he is a proxy for Mr Thaksin and will bring the former prime minister back to Thailand if he takes office.

Analysts say the success of the PPP shows that the public has rejected the coup and continues to support Mr Thaksin, particularly in rural areas.

Questions remain over how the military will respond if the PPP takes office, especially if Mr Thaksin returns.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Thaksin Shinawatra on the recent election results





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