Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thaksin's big mistake

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has announced his resignation. Musharraf is not the only influential Asian politician having a really bad summer. Awaiting trial on corruption charges, deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin and his wife recently fled Thailand for London. Bangkok Pundit blogs that Thaksin made a mistake, returning to Thailand too soon after the coup that deposed him:*
The pressure to extradite would still be there from the PAD, but his wife wouldn't have been convicted as the trial wouldn't have gone ahead. As public prosecutors under Surayud concluded, the evidence was too weak to extradite him. He took a gamble in coming back, but it didn't pay off.
Of course, this wasn't Thaksin's biggest mistake. He seemed to have allowed political success to convince him that he was invincible. Thaksin utterly misjudged how his business transactions concerning Thailand's telecom industry would be perceived, the opposition he would incur, and the extent of his political vulnerability. Also in this latter respect, Thaksin and Musharraf seem to have shared something in common.
* For many Thais this was a happy event. I live-blogged his arrival at the Bangkok airport.
Photo: This Thai lady interviewed by Jotman said "Thaksin is my hero." On Youtube, the video of her interview ranks as Jotman's all-time "most discussed" video. The video clip illustrates how the name "Thaksin" evokes the most passionate feelings: both supportive and otherwise!

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