Thai king’s adviser mum on pro-Thaksin party ahead of vote

Posted: 20 December 2007 1721 hrs

BANGKOK – The top adviser to Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Thursday declined to say if he would accept a victory by allies of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra in elections this weekend.

The vote Sunday is meant to restore democracy after the military toppled the twice-elected Thaksin in a bloodless coup in September 2006.

General Prem Tinsulanonda told reporters that the nation should respect the results of the election.

“That’s the rule, and we have to accept the rules,” he said.
But when asked if he would accept a victory by the pro-Thaksin People Power Party, he said: “I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.”

Prem is widely seen as the public voice of King Bhumibol, who at 80 years old is the world’s longest reigning monarch but is rarely seen in public due to his advancing age.

Thaksin’s allies have accused Prem of masterminding the coup staged by royalist generals. Prem has denied the charge.

Thaksin is now living in self-imposed exile in Britain, while military-backed authorities have frozen two billion dollars worth of his assets, disbanded his party and barred him from politics.

His allies are contesting the election as the People Power Party. Polls say the party is likely to win more seats than any other group, but will probably not win an outright majority.

The Democrat Party, Thailand’s oldest political outfit, is seen landing second place. –

AFP/ir

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