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Thais won't tolerate dictatorship: Thaksin

Thailand's ousted prime minister warned that the country would not tolerate "dictatorship" indefinitely.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2007 14:39 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Thailand's ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has warned the country will not tolerate "dictatorship" indefinitely after he was deposed in a military coup.

In an interview published on Tuesday on a visit to Japan, Thaksin said Thailand's international credibility was at stake but that he sought unity between his supporters and opponents.

"Thais have enjoyed democracy and never want to be under a dictatorship or a non-democratic government," Thaksin told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

"They can be patient and tolerate such things to some extent, but not for too long."

The populist premier was ousted on September 19 coup by military leaders who accused him of undermining democracy through alleged corruption during his five years in office.

The billionaire businessman, who denies the allegations, said he was waiting for the right time to return.

"I am waiting for the situation to go back to normal, because I want to urge the military government to restore unity to the Thai people," he said.

"I think I can be useful for the country. I can tell my supporters, 'Okay, it's time that we should unite,'" he said.

Thaksin, who was in New York when tanks rumbled onto Bangkok's streets, spent several weeks in London and has since hopped around Asia.

Military-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said on Monday that Thaksin could return home if he stays out of politics.

But Thaksin said he could rebuild the country's credibility, particularly on the economic front.

"What international society worries about is that if the government under a coup d'etat abolishes the Constitution, the rule of law will not be observed," he said.

"Thailand is still a good place to work and make money. This is what I would tell the investors, foreign governments and the private sector," said Thaksin, one of Thailand's richest people.

First Published: Jan 23, 2007 14:39 IST